Three Important Scenes
In The Hearth and the Salamander, the first in the trilogy of sections in Fahrenheit 451, Guy Montag goes through a period of curiosity and discovery. This is when he takes a book from a house he is burning, unbeknown to the other workers. For the next day or two, he attempts reading this book as well as several others with Mildred, while he has “called in sick” to work. Subsequently, Captain Beatty suspects what Montag is really doing and pays a visit to his home. “I’ve seen it all. You were going to call for a night off (page 53).” While receiving a lengthy lecture from Beatty, Montag is certainly nervous, but maintains his dignity and composure. Beatty says, “Every fireman, sooner or later, hits this. They only need understanding, to know how the wheels run. Need to know the history of our profession (page 53).” The anxious fireman demonstrates bravery, because the book was like a “loaded gun” behind him, under his pillow. He is passionate and nonconformist because he stands his ground and doesn’t surrender his book, even though Beatty is manipulative and overbearing.
In The Sieve and the Sand, the second section, after the encounter with Beatty, Montag contacts his professor acquaintance Faber for help. Although Faber is reluctant to see Montag at first, “He looked at the book under Montag’s arm and could not stop. ‘So it’s true (page 80).’” When Faber agrees to help Montag digest and understand books and their meanings, Montag gains confidence. Faber gives a brief address about how people need “Number one, as I said: quality of information. Number two: leisure to digest it. And number three: the right to carry out actions based on what we learn from the interaction of the first two (page 85).” Montag then develops an out of character streak, where he takes off on Faber’s joking proposal to plant books in firemen’s houses and call in alarms. Faber states, “Now, if you suggest that we print extra books and...
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