Fahrenheit 451 Study Questions
Fahrenheit 451 Study Questions
What is the significance of Montag seeing his reflection in Clarisse’s eyes? Montag sees himself in Clarisse’s eyes, indicating that there is a reflection of him in her. Although he does not really know what the similarities are between him and her, he is aware that there is a connection between them. What final question does Clarisse ask Montag on the night of their first encounter?
Why is the question important to the plot? On the night of their first encounter Clarisse asks Montag the question “Are you happy?” Montag replies by saying yes. This question is important to the plot because it makes Montag question himself. Even though he said yes, he can feel that he is missing something in his life. Although he might not know what that is he is missing, he starts to question himself and what his life really is. He then attempts to figure out what is missing in his life and to fill the void. When Montag enters his home, he stares at the blank wall, but in memory sees Clarisse.
What extended simile describes how he sees her? “She had a very thin face like the dial if a small clock seen faintly in a dark room in the middle of a night when you waken up to see the time and see the clock telling you the hour the minute, the second with a white silence and a glowing, all certainty and knowing what it had to tell of the night passing swiftly on toward further darknesses, but moving also toward a new sun.” This is the simile in which the book describes how Montag sees Clarisse.
The simile is comparing Clarisse to a clock, and how she is all-knowing with a mixed personality. At this point of realization, what happens to the smile on Montag’s face, and what is his answer to Clarisse’s question? Once Montag enters the bedroom the smile on Montag’s face goes away. He sees his wife lying down on the bed motionless and he starts to feel sad. At first Montag answered Clarisse’s question by saying yes but after seeing his wife lying down motionless, he begins to question his happiness.
Describe Clarisse’s personality
Clarisse is very curious and also very nice. She questions and wonders about many things. In the story, she is one of the few people who went outside the box and tries to do new things like playing with and smelling leaves. What does Clarisse say people talk about? Find some examples of representative conversations throughout the book. Clarisse says that no one engages in an actual conversation. She says that people only talk about televisions, cars and clothing but not a meaningful conversation. What is significance of the refrain repeated by the woman whose house was burned? What did it mean? What is its effect on Montag?
The significance of the refrain repeated by the woman whose house was burned is “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.” She is willing to lose her life to stand up for what she believed in, which was for the freedom to read. Montag begins to question why books were so important to her and why she sacrificed her life. Montag starts to wonder if books had important or useful information in them. What does Montag think about the old woman and all the books he has destroyed? He felt guilty and depressed when he thinks about the old woman who burned with her books.
He starts to understand that books are not easy to write, and that behind every book is a man who spends their lives dedicated into putting their ideas into books. He then realizes that he destroys something that someone spends their whole lives making in a couple of minutes. Summarize Beatty’s explanation of how the need for fireman arose? Captain Beatty explains to Montag that firemen used to put out fires instead of setting them. Since all houses and buildings are fireproof there is no need for firemen anymore. He then said that intellectual and talented people made others uncomfortable and how books always caused conflict. Then they hired men to burn all these books since they caused conflict and those men were known as firemen. Part 2: The Sieve and the Sand
What is the meaning of the title of Part 2?
The title “The Sieve and the Sand” refers to an incident during Montag’s childhood. When Montag was young, his cousin told him that if he filled the sieve with sand he would give Montag a dime. However when Montag tries to fill the sieve with sand, the sand just falls through the holes of the sieve no matter how hard he tries. Now history repeats itself. Montag tries to memorize parts of the Bible, specifically the Book of Ecclesiastes. However when he tries to memorize the Book of Ecclesiastes on the train, the jingle from the advertisement for Denham’s Dentrifice keeps playing.
Therefore Montag cannot memorize the Book of Ecclesiastes no matter how hard he tries because the dentrifice commercial keeps distracting him. Montag cannot memorize the words in the books because he is not used to reading since books are banned in the novel. In other words his mind is like a sieve and the information or words from the Bible is the sand, and no matter how hard he tries his mind can never hold the words he is trying to memorize. What is the importance of the dentrifice commercial?
In the novel, the dentrifice commercial distracts Montag from focusing on memorizing the Book of Ecclesiastes. It interferes with Montag’s effort to think. This is the authors way of saying that how humans can easily be distracted by something as simple as a 4jingle for a product. Why does Montag go to see Faber?
Montag needed to go see Faber because he hid many books in his house and he needs someone to explain what the books mean to him. He remembers he had once met a person named Faber at the park. When they both started talking to each other Faber told Montag that he was an English professor before books were banned. Therefore Montag tried to find a way to contact and meet Faber to help him understand more about books. What does Faber tell Montag about books?
Faber tells Montag that books are important and that a person should be free to decide whether they want to read books or not. He also said that people should not be limited to obtain useful and important information that comes from books. In other words Faber tells Montag that people should have the freedom to read books. What are the three things which Faber says are missing from society? The three things which Faber says are missing from society are the quality of information, the leisure to digest it, and the right to carry out actions based on what we learn from the interaction of the quality of information and the leisure to digest it. Describe the parlor women, their views, their conversational concerns?
The parlor women were only concerned on what new television they were going to buy. Montag sees this and turns off the walls or television in the middle of their show. Then he asks one of the parlor women about the war. She replied by saying that her husband is being called up to help in the war. However she isn’t worried she says that even if he dies she would not be sad and that she would just find another husband. That’s what she and her husband agreed on. He then asks another question, this time about children. Montag finds out that one of them would not have children and the other does but does not even care for them. Mildred, Montag’s wife, starts talking about politics. The parlor women tell Montag and Mildred who they voted for in the recent election. They tell them that she voted for President Noble just because he was much better looking. Why does Montag read “Dover Beach” aloud to the ladies?
“Dover Beach” is a poem about the instability of life. It speaks of loss of faith and trust. The poem is also symbolic of their society. It talks about how faith used to be full but is now “retreating, to the breath of the night wind” leaving only “naked shingles of the world” and how this life has “neither joy nor love nor light” anymore. It is a great representation on what human life used to be and how it has become. How do the women react?
The women started crying after Montag read “Dover Beach”. Although they do not fully understand the meaning of the poem, they sense that it was a sad and depressing poem. The women are not used to this kind of emotion and do not know how to react. Therefore they start crying and left Montag’s house. Part 3: Burning Bright
What is Mildred’s main concern as she runs out of the house? Mildred mumbles as she’s running out, “Poor family, poor family, oh everything gone, everything, everything gone now…”. Family in this context means the television walls she was so attached to. When she said that everything is gone now, she means her TV family. The TV walls were Mildred’s main concern as she runs out of the house. What feelings does Montag have about the burning house?
Montag has mixed feelings after being forced by Captain Beatty to burn his own house. In some ways he is happy. He is relieved that he burnt down all the television walls that his wife was so attached to, and he also enjoyed the feeling of burning something again. However he was sad that he burned all the books inside the house and he was not happy that his wife started to turn on him after he burned down all the walls of the house. While Montag was in flight from the scene of Beatty’s murder, what thought occurred to him about Beatty? After Montag kills Beatty, a thought occurred to Montag that Beatty might have wanted to die all along. When Montag used a flamethrower on Beatty, he showed no signs of defending himself as if he did not care if he died and might have possibly wanted to die all along. What is the explanation which Montag and Faber arrive at for how so very much could have happened within one week?
After Montag kills Captain Beatty he rushes to Faber’s house. There he wonders to Faber on how he killed his old boss, burned his house, and lost his wife all within one week. Faber replies to Montag by saying that all of this was “coming for a long time”. Montag understands Faber and says that he used to think that things were wrong for a long time even though he continued with his everyday life. What are Montag’s impressions of the land across the river? Montag was in awe of the beauty of the land across the river. He loved the natural beauty of the countryside, how it seemed so much freer and more natural compared to the computerized world he lived in. When Montag complained about being unable to remember Mildred, what explanation did Granger give him?
When Montag said that he was unable to remember his past wife Mildred, Granger tells him about a story of the loss of his grandfather and how when someone dies they must leave something to be remembered by. When Granger asked Montag what Mildred left him he replied with “nothingness”. What was Granger’s philosophy on life, taught to him by his grandfather, and handed on to Montag? Granger’s philosophy of life is live every second you can as though in just ten seconds you will fall to the ground and die. He also tells Montag to leave his house and enjoy what nature has to offer, and to live life to the fullest. Describe the effects of the war as Montag imagined them.
Montag imagines total destruction. He imagines Faber on his bus heading out of town, but there was no use. Where ever Faber’s destination was Montag imagined that it would be meaningless. He also imagined Mildred, quietly watching her TV walls and how that the bombs would hit her. What is the
promise at the end of the novel?
At the end of the novel, it talks about how a new era is about to begin. The promise is about a better world in the future, a world with human rights and freedom. A world in which people can read if they choose to, and how people are allowed to think of new ideas. A world of creativity and freedom.