People’s actions and their individual perceptions can influence and develop change in another person’s character. In Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury, the main character, Guy Montag, makes a complete metamorphosis with the help from his neighbor Clarisse, his wife Mildred, and his boss Beatty. In the beginning of the novel, he despised the whole idea of reading, had no thoughts or questions about his life, and was just going through the motions of life. He changes from a stolid character, incognizant of the activities of his surroundings, to a conscious person of.
So enlightened, by the new world he is exposed to, he comes to the realization that there is more life than what meets the eye. There are many stimuli in Montag’s society that help him change. The one who began this new outlook and the one to always leave him thinking deeply about other possibilities and ways to see the world was his neighbor, Clarisse. She was a very positive influence on him even though she was a young, teenage girl. She is classified to be unremarkable and who does the opposite of what the others do.
She is also very perceptive and “[she] like[s] to watch people…[and] just wants to figure out who they are and what they want and where they’re going” (32-33). Clarisse teaches Montag to look around him, look at the people for who they really are, and to notice that all of society is brainwashed to thinking about nothing. This is something he had not noticed before. She enjoys talking to Montag, asking him questions about himself, and she loves to talk about the world and it’s wonderful possibilities that others fail to observe.
Clarisse helps him look around and distinguish that others are not taking the time to actually see that the” White blurs are houses… [and] Brown blurs are cows”(83) and everyone is just going through life to quickly and not actually looking at anything in detail. Montag never a deep thinker is numb to his surroundings and emotions. He begins to pullout of his complacency as Clarisse gives the gift of clarity and helps him pay attention to what is really important in life, just not what his society tells him to see. Montag’s Wife, Mildred, is a negative influence on him, trying to push him away emotionally and physically.
She does not know who she really is and lives in an illusionary world with her obsession of television shows and believing they are real. He is so confused because she tries to ignore it ever happened thinking about all the bad things; “fire, sleeping tablets, men disposable tissue, coattails, blow, wad, flush… Rain. The storm. The uncle laughing… The whole world pouring down… ” (19). After this incident he looks at Mildred in a different light and is someone who he can’t relate to. Another way she separates herself from Montag is through her “family”, which is a television show.
Montag constantly asks Millie “[if that] family loves [her]… love [her] with all their heart and soul” (83). Her world isn’t based in reality; they are clearly on different paths. Hers is one of illusion and his is becoming that of a totally self-aware person. She blocks everything and everyone out that is around her and lives within the show. Mildred opens Montag’s eyes to the real world and shows him that most people are uncaring and narcissistic. Another influencing character is Beatty, his boss and chief of police who is very knowledgeable.
He finds out that Montag has books in his possession and that is when the start of the climax. Beatty is an unintentional influence, meaning he has no idea that he is changing Montag. He pushes and pushes Montag to his limits and Montag rebels. He tries to tell Montag that books aren’t good and that nothing is good about them. “At least one fireman gets an itch. What do the books say, he wonders.
Oh, to scratch that itch, eh? Well, Montag, take my word for it, I’ve had to read a few in my time, to know what I was about, and the books say nothing… You come away lost. ” (66). Beatty really wants to discourage Montag from books, but it just makes him go in the opposite direction. Beatty helps Montag change for the better without even noticing. Many people influence us in our lives. They can be positive influences, or negative influences. Montag changes for the better in the novel Fahrenheit 451, because of the people around him. At the end of the book, after he escapes the authorities, he is reborn into a whole different person. He becomes a better person aware of the real things in life.
Courtney from Study Moose
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