As you read each section of the novel, answer briefly the following questions. These questions should act as a reading guide and are not intended to replace careful examination of the novel's themes and development. Part I: The Hearth and the Salamander (pages 3-68)
1. What do the "fireman" do for a living?
Firemen burn books. On a deeper level, firemen control society and perpetuate the classless uneducated society of Montag’s world.
2. In the opening scene, why are the books compared to birds?
In the opening scene we are introduced to Montag, the main character, who is reveling in the process and imagery of burning books. As he does so, pages from one of the books floats in the air like a dove.
3. According to pages 3-4, what does Montag think of his job?
Montag loves burning books and everything associated with it, including the smell of kerosene on his body.
4. Who does Montag meet on the way home?
5. During his conversation, Montag says that "You never wash it off completely" referring to the kerosene. What could this mean symbolically?
One can never wash off the mantle of firefighters. They are always responsible for the controlling the thoughts and actions, to limited degree, of society.
6. Why do you think that Bradbury would introduce Clarisse before Montag's wife, Mildred?
Montag is sparked to change by Clarisse, the young neighbor girl. One would expect such change to occur because of someone particularly close to the one changing. However, Mildred is not the type of person to pull herself away from her show, let alone spark change.
7. Why does Mildred need help when Montag gets home?
She has overdosed on sleeping pills
8. Describe the help that she receives.
Men with a “snake machine” arrived at the house and performed their duty on her. The machine drains the “poison” blood from her system and replaces it with fresh, clean blood. From the appearance...