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Fahrenheit 451- The Journey to a New Montag Essay

Sometimes, people don’t realize how big of an effect someone can have on a life. What someone says can rub off, and if they are a positive person, it can make a person follow in their ways. Fahrenheit 451 is a science fiction novel written by Ray Bradbury, the main character Guy Montag undergoes many changes within himself. Throughout the book, Montag encounters many different people that make him face his real self. Although Montag might not know it, maybe others know a little bit more about himself than he even does. The old lady teaches Montag about sacrifice and sticking to your beliefs no matter what. Then Faber teaches him that books maybe do mean more than just the words on the page. Last, Clarisse McClellan teaches Montag to slow down and appreciate the little things in life that are equally important as the big ones. Montag changes so suddenly when the old lady shows him who he really wants to be.

On his normal night of work Montag will encounter someone who changes his life forever. The old lady teaches Montag to take risks and make sacrifices for what you believe in. She wasn’t going to give up, even if that meant her dying for it. The old lady would really rather die than let her books go. “You can’t ever have my books,” she said (Bradbury 38). This made Montag want to act in the same way and not let society bring him down. He is now not scared to learn books and is interested in to learn more, the old lady knew she had to make someone agree with her before she died, so somebody would carry on in her ways. “Play the man master Ridley; we shall this day light such a candle by God’s grace in England, as I trust shall never be put out” (Bradbury 36).

Thankfully, this works for Montag and it changes his whole perspective on books. Montag later thinks about what he has done. It makes him physically sick with guilt and sympathy to think of what the old lady did for books. He now realizes that books must mean something more than what he had thought if an old woman was willing to die for them. Deep inside of Montag, he knows that this interaction happened for a reason. If it wasn’t for the old lady, Montag would not have had this important change. Next, Faber has Montag look at books in a whole new way. He knows that without understanding the real meaning of literature, the words have no meaning. Faber a former English professor has the knowledge, and skills to help Montag realize how important books are. Faber is convinced that he will teach where the quality in books from.

He gives him the three necessary things for good literature, “number one: quality of information…, number two: leisure to digest it, and number three: the right to carry out actions based on what we learn…” (Bradbury 84-85). This helps Montag know that literature is very important to this world. Montag needs Faber to teach him how to read and find the meaning of books. “I need you to teach me” he said, (Bradbury 88). As Montag rips pages out of the bible one by one, Faber agrees to teach him what he wants to learn. Montag is starting to change; he is starting to feel that books are a very good thing and it is all because of Faber. This is the second internal change within Montag. Clarisse McClellan is responsible for Montag’s biggest, most drastic change within himself. She shows him that there is much more to life than the big moments.

Clarisse’s slows Montag down and points out the small things. But she also makes him face the truth about himself. Clarisse asks Montag a very interesting question that he was not expecting. “Are you happy?” she said, (Bradbury 10). Montag had never thought of such a simple question. In the moment, the first thing that came to his mind was yes. But after some thought, he realizes he is not. That was not Clarisse’s last question, she was still curious about Montag. She explained to him that if you rub a dandelion under your chin, and its yellow, that means you are in love. Montag’s chin did not change yellow. “I am, very much in love!” he tried to conjure a face to fir the words, but there was no face. (Bradbury 22). Right then Montag realizes that he was never really in love with his wife Mildred.

As Clarisse and Montag are walking, she begins pointing out small things that Montag had never paid any attention to. “Have you ever smelt old leaves? Don’t they smell like cinnamon?” she asked, (Bradbury 29). Just this one simple thing represents all the moments in life that Montag doesn’t appreciate. At this time, he realizes he has been missing so much in life so far. In closing, Clarisse made Montag look at his life in a whole new way. As Montag continued on his journey to a new him, different people changed him in very different ways.

Without the help of those three individuals who knows where Montag would have ended up. Montag is now aware of who he really is and what he is supposed to do through this series of internal changes. First, the old lady gives Montag sympathy, compassion, and guilt. Then Faber helps him find the true meaning in books. Last, Clarisse makes Montag find his true self and lets that person come through. Reflecting on what Montag has now become, people can have a big effect on someone else’s life. In conclusion, like Montag, anybody can change for the better with the guidance of others.


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