In the first part of Fahrenheit 451, the character Guy Montage, a thirty-year-old fireman in the twenty-fourth is introduced. In this dystopian (dreadful and oppressive) setting, people race "jet cars" down the roads as a way of terminating stress, "parlor walls" are large screens in every home used dually for entertainment and governmental propaganda, and houses have been fireproofed, thus making the job of firemen, as they are commonly known, obsolete. However, firemen have been given a new occupation; they are burners of books and the official censors of the state. As a fireman, Guy Montage is responsible for destroying not only the books he finds, but also the homes in which he finds them. Books are not to be read; they are to be destroyed without question.
For Montage, "It was a pleasure to burn." The state mandated that all books must burn. Therefore, Montage, along with the other firemen, burns the books to show conformity. Without ideas, everyone conforms, and as a result, everyone should be happy. When books and new ideas are available to people, conflict and unhappiness occur. At first, Montage believes that he is happy. When he views himself in the firehouse mirror after a night of burning, he grins "the fierce grin of all men singed and driven back by flame."
However, I have noticed that everything isn’t, as Montage wants it to be. When Montage meets Clarisse McClellan, his new vivacious teenage neighbor, he begins to question whether he really is happy. Clarisse gives Montage enlightenment; she questions him not only about his own personal happiness but also about his occupation and about the fact that he knows little truth about history. At the same time, she also gives the reader the opportunity to see that the government has dramatically changed what its citizens perceive as their history. For example, Montage never knew that firemen used to fight actual fires or that billboards used to be only 20 feet long. Nor did Montage know that people...
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