Farenheit 451 Essay, Research Paper
A world without books that moves at breakneck speed may sound like a wonderful world for the average student who dreads reading books and watches mounds of television daily. It is a world where one does not need to worry oneself with knowing Shakespeare or Thoreau. This world is happy as the cumbersome book is eliminated and the television, now the size of a wall gives us all the social interaction that is necessary. A world as such exists in Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 . Everyone is happy as there is nothing to worry about. This world though is not happy for Guy Montag. Montag, a futuristic fireman who burns books instead of putting out fires, has a secret yearning for the forbidden fruit that lies within these books. The yearning started one night while Montag is walking home from a day’s work, he meets a young girl by the name of Clarisse McClellan. She is idealistic and hates the social structure of the times. Clarisse claims that firemen once put out fires started accidentally instead of starting them. Montag thinks this to be preposterous, for the Chief told him firemen have always been fire-starters and that that they date back the Benjamin Franklin. Clarisse continues to talk to Montag about the intricacies of life and of how life used to be, as told to her by her uncle. Guy decides that the girl is eccentric because hardly anyone except for firemen walk down the street at any time. He goes home to his wife Mildred a woman who personifies the modern society and has very little to do except to take part in interactive TV shows. Mildred has three walls of the living room equipped with such walls. She thinks that a fourth wall would be great, while Montag refuses because he thinks it is useless and expensive especially considering the 3rd wall was installed just 2 months ago. The following day Montag finds Clarisse waiting at the bus stop. He inquires about if she goes to school. She says she doesn’t because she’s been labeled anti-social by her teachers. They talk for a while, and he eventually goes to work. When he arrives at work, he has an eerie confrontation from a novocaine injecting super mechanical dog who doesn’t seem to like him as much as the other firemen. This passes and an alarm is sounded to signify that a book has been spotted and must be burnt When they arrive to the house Montag feels guilty when the owner of the house refuses to leave. This leads To a fireman burning her along with the house and its books. Montag feels sorry for the old lady, and he becomes depressed. He steals two of the books from the house because he concludes, “There must be something in books, things we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don’t stay for nothing.” Montag is left distraught and the next day calls in sick. His commander, Captain Beatty, comes by and talks to him and check on how well he is feeling. Montag is lying in bed with a book behind his pillow. Mildred feels the book and asks what it is, causing Capt. Beatty to become alarmed. In a surprising move Beatty tells Montag that it’s permissible for a fireman to take a book home once in a while, as long as he burns it within 24 hours. Beatty also freely admits that he has read many books and knows how evil they are. He contests that as firemen they, “stand against the small tide of those who want to make everyone unhappy with conflicting theory and though.” Montag does not buy a word that he hears from Beatty and continues to hide his cherished books so he is not subjected to burning and jail time. Mildred later informs Montag that Clarisse and her family have been murdered for their supposedly anti-social beliefs. Clarisse was run over by a car. Montag feels a wave of sadness and hopelessness because of the horrible government. He continues in the book remembering the lessons that where taught to him by the girl who was “17 and crazy.” Later in the day Montag goes to the house of a man whom he had met earlier in a park. This man, Professor Faber, has several volumes in his possession. Faber was forced to retire because there were no students at the universities and colleges. At first Faber hesitates to let Montag in, but then he lets the man come inside. Montag has a Bible in his possession, and he lets Faber see it. Faber says there are only a few left in the country. The friendship between the two blossoms and a plan is erected to try and get rid of the firemen and restore books into their rightful place in society. Guy needs some help though as he does not know how to handle Beatty and the other firemen. Faber gives Montag a miniature ear piece that acts as a walkie-talkie, which they used to communicate. Montag goes back to walk, where he talks to Capt. Beatty, who tells him that books are burned because they contradict each other and make people displeased. Since worldwide happiness is a goal of the government, books are destroyed. Then, an alarm is sounded, and Montag is surprised to learn that his own home will be burned. Beatty tells Montag to burn the residence himself. Through the earpieces, Faber tells Montag to refuse to do so. Then Beatty sees the earpiece and destroys it. Capt. Beatty explains that Mildred called in the alarm. Beatty says that Montag will have to be destroyed. Instead, Montag sets the flame thrower on the Captain and his fellow firemen and incinerates them. He also destroys the firemen’s equipment and mechanical hound and leaves the scene as the countries most wanted man. The Police send another Mechanical Hound, a dog-like device with a lethal injection, after Montag who had run the gamut of the streets and eventually to Faber’s house. The dog is set to find him by his chemical balance and odor. The media follow the dog by helicopter in an OJ Simpson esque chase as the entire nation watches the pursuit of a criminal. Montag is smart though, too smart for the dog, he destroys any evidence left of his path and makes his way to the river where he can safely escape downstream in its rapids without leaving a trail. He gets out of the river several miles downstream and knows that he is safe. In the surrounding forests, he meets a group of former professors who have memorized books. They explain that there are hundreds of people who have done so across the country and they have a loose network just about every literary work archived the memory banks of various people across the country. Montag is invited to join the group. He finds safety and refuge in the woods because Police never venture into these woodlands. The group have a small television, and Montag watches as an innocent bystander is arrested instead of Montag. The men conclude that the police needed to capture someone, anyone,regardless of guilt or innocence. The media never zooms in on the face so it is left to the viewers imagination to discover wheither or not the fugitive actually is Montag. It is concluded by the men that the police already have social outcasts marked to capture in such instances where the original person is not capturable. After the men watch this report, a flight of enemy bombers thuders past the group of men and flies onward to the city. They drop several bombs and fly away. The city is destroyed. Montag thinks briefly of Mildred and then of Faber, who is safely on his way to St. Louis via bus. He had told Montag about seeing a retired printer there so that they could print underground newsletters. Montag realizes that he should stay with his group of newly found friends and continue his silent battle against society.