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By: Ray Bradbury
Life may be confusing to you when your job is to commit arson to any house that has a book in it. At least that’s the way it was for Guy Montag.
Guy Montag was a fireman and in the future, a firefighters job wasn’t to stop fires, but it was actually to start them. In the future, books were known as bad and shameful and if anyone had possession of a book whether it was in their house or in another person’s house, then the house was to be burned.
Guy was never really sure what was so bad about the books. He never really knew the reason why he would have to burn down a person’s house when one had possession.
One day the firemen were notified about a woman that had a large supply of books in her house. When Guy went to commit arson at the house, he slipped a book into his coat pocket. Over time, Guy began to receive more and more books. One night, Guy pulled one of the books out from where they were being hidden and began to read some poems in front of his wife and friends. Because the possession of books was a great sin, his wife reported him to the firemen. Guy soon kills 3 fireman, including the chief, and escapes with a professor by the name of Faber.
Guy and the professor end up together sharing and discussing their love for books.
“Theory hell,” said Montag. “It’s poetry.” (pg. 97)
This is actually what changed Guy’s life. When Guy re-entered the room at his wife’s party he had a book in his hands. Mrs. Phelps, one of his wife’s friends asked him if he was reading up on fireman theory. He was so frustrated with her because of her expression of false views that night about war, husbands and children that he finally spilled it. He wanted her to understand that books were a good thing and that they could teach you to be more objective towards society and its beliefs.
“Do you ever read any of the books you burn?” (pg. 8)
Because of this conversation with Clarrise McClellan, his 17 year old next door neighbor, he realizes that he doesn’t even understand that the job he is doing is right or wrong. This conversation makes him think about what books really have to offer and that is why he decides to slip a book into his pocket during one of the arsons.
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Fahrenheit 451, Guy Montag, Guy
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