Ray Bradbury is a master of characterization techniques. He uses his expertise, such as indirect characterization, in the creation of Fahrenheit 451. In addition to learning about the explicit qualities of Bradbury’s characters, readers receive deeper insight as we carefully read his stories. In Fahrenheit 451, we learn more indirect information about the protagonist, Guy Montag, through the words used to introduce this character. We have a clear view of Montag’s thoughts and feelings that lead him into his own transformation.
When the novel begins, we learn that Montag’s values are similar to that of the society he lives in. The culture in which Montag is accustomed to is one without cogitation or analysis. Their society believes that books cause pain and should not exist. Everyone in this society believes they live in a carefree, painless world beyond having burdens. In the first sentence of the novel, Montag shows how much he loves his work as a fireman: “It was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed” (Bradbury 1). The job of a fireman in this society is to set fires, not to eradicate them. Houses that are revealed to contain books, by those who set off the alarms, are destroyed by firemen. Montag enjoys watching books wither and disintegrate in front of his eyes, but never thinks why he does it. His ideas begin to change when he walks home one evening and runs into a young woman named Clarisse McClellan, who lives on the same street as Montag. She initiates a conversation with Montag that makes him feel uncomfortable. All of Clarisse’s observations and thoughts finally oblige Montag to respond, “You think too many things”. Montag is unfamiliar to thinking and asking questions. He is accustom to following everyone else and carrying out his duties without comprehending them while being entertained.
Throughout the book, Montag questions his role in society and tries to find a remedy. Clarisse provides the beginning of...
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