To evolve and to grow, humans need to feel, have emotion and gain knowledge. When people’s thoughts and feelings are controlled this becomes impossible. Once they encounter conflict they are changed by it. In Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, and in Wimmer's Equilibrium, we watch the protagonist evolve throughout the story.
Protagonist at the beginning of the story
In both, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 and Kurt Wimmer’s Equilibrium, the protagonist evolves throughout the story. At the beginning of Ray Bradbury’s novel, Guy Montag, the protagonist, is a fireman who, instead of putting out fires, is supposed to start them. In his futuristic society, a fireman's job is to burn books due to their content of knowledge. "It is a pleasure to burn. It is special to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed." (Part 1, pg. 3) He is a simple-minded conformist, who shows minor hints of being "different".
In Kurt Wimmers’ Equilibrium, the protagonist, John Preston, is Libria's highest ranking Cleric. In this society, all types of feelings, emotions and anything that provokes emotion are illegal. The Clerics are a form of government who find people who feel and kill them. At the beginning of the story, Preston becomes a widow as a result of his wife being executed as a sense offender, leaving him with his children. He then notices that his partner, Errol Partridge, has with him a copy of poems which trigger emotion and he kills him. 1
Throughout the novel Fahrenheit 451, Montag goes through a huge change. At the beginning of the story, he meets Clarisse, and after speaking to her, begins to realize and understand how he is “different”. She makes him see the oppression and the control the government has over him. She shows him what it’s like to think for himself, and not the way others want him to think. He also meets Beatty and Faber. These people completely alter his mentality and his way of seeing life.