Fahrenheit 451: ChangeWhat is change? Webster’s Second Collegiate Dictionary, defines changeas to cause to become different; alter; transform; convert. Many things, people,and world events are able to change. Peace may be present for years andshattered by a disagreement over religion, or shift of political power.
Technology changes the lives of people and how the interact and work in theworld. People also change. Many do not see any wrongdoing internally, and remainthe way they are. However, there might be outside factors that help them realizewhat is wrong with them or the lifestyle they choose to take part in.
Accordingto Preston Bradley, “I don’t care how much a man may consider himself a failure,I believe in him, for he can change the thing that is wrong in his life any timehe is ready and prepared to do it. Whenever he develops the desire, he can takeaway from his life the thing that is defeating it. The capacity for reformationand change lies within.
” Throughout Fahrenheit 451, Montag, a dedicated firemanand book burner, sees pleasure and titillation from burning books and destroyinglifetimes of important ideas. When outside influences put confusion in him, hebegins a series of changes, eventually becoming a revolutionary in a societywhere books are valued.
Many factors contribute to the changes found in Montag. One of the firstinfluences during the story is the exquisitely observant Clarisse McClellan. Sheis different from all of the others in society who like to head for a Fun Parkto bully people around,” or “break windowpanes in the Car Wrecker.” She likes toobserve people, and she observes Montag, diagnosing him as a”strange…fireman.” He is “not like the others” because when she talks, helooks at her, and when she said something about the moon, he looks at it.
Clarisse tells Montag that he is different from the other people. He hassomething inside of him that makes him “put up with” her. Clarisse makes Montaglook at himself for the first time when she asks him, “Are you happy?” Montagthinks that she is talking nonsense, but he realizes that he truly is not happy.
Something is missing from his life. Looking at his lifestyle, he found that the”only thing that I Montag positively knew was gone was the books I’d he’dburned in ten or twelve years.” Clarisse helped Montag to start to think forhimself, instead of letting the society take over and make the decisions for him.
He begins his transformation from a dedicated fireman into a newborn, a readerof books. He is now able to realize his faults and the faults of the society.
Montag was walking through life blind, and Clarisse opened his eyes, for thefirst time.
Later, Montag’s changing becomes further amplified. When Montag, his twocomrades, and Captain Beatty answer an alarm, they are usually alone in thebuilding, able to go about their work which seemed janitorial. They “were simplycleaning up.” The culprits usually were arrested and taken away, but this timethere was a woman here. This woman was not like the rest. This woman refused toleave her books, replying Montag’s pleads to leave with, “I want to stay here.”She is even so bold as to bring her own death, for “in the palm of the herhand was a single slender object.” An ordinary kitchen match. The woman’sdetermination to die with the books rather than succumb to the rest of societyshocked Montag. More and more questions arose in his head. “There must besomething in books, things we Montag and Mildred can’t imagine, to make awoman stay in a burning house; . . .You don’t stay for nothing.” The woman makesMontag think about books and about his lifestyle. Montag feels guilty for havingkilled a woman, for not making her save herself. His opinion of books changes.
There must be something important in books to make a woman deny her right tolive. He wonders if what he is doing is correct. Montag learns the power of themeaning in the books.
Montag changes again when he meets the old man that he met in the park ayear ago. The old man was Faber, a retired English Professor, who acts as aguide to Montag, guiding him in the right way. Montag felt that he shouldconsult Faber, for he “talked the meaning of things.” He wanted to know what wasin the books. He wanted to see the meaning in the words and writing. Faber’scomment on books gave way to a new stream of questions in Montag. Montag beganwondering about books. He asked himself, “Are books really that bad? Why arebooks bad if Faber feels that books are what I missing from the society? Why arebooks bad if the society needs the books?” Faber said that “books such as thisBible are so important.” Books are important. Faber explained the relationshipbetween a legend, “the legend of Hercules and Antaueos,” and the society.
Antaueos was a giant wrestler that was strong when on land. “But when he washeld…in midair, he perished easily.” By showing how the legend applied totheir society, how “people” were held in midair to perish by the society, heshowed that books with stories and nonsense have importance in the society.
People were strong when they are “on the earth,” looking at reality. However,the society is holding them up, and the people are perishing, are committingsuicide and killing others. He showed Montag the importance of knowing themeaning of books. Montag was now a rebel, a book reader, instead of the fire-loving book burner. He was no longer siding with the society. He has changed,realizing the importance of books. Montag’s ears have opened and he is listening.
Montag shows change when an alarm is placed, and the house that he mustburn is his. He burns the house, and confronts Beatty. Montag chose to kill him.
Beatty would trace the “green bullet” and arrest Faber. Montag couldn’t allowtheir plan to fail. He chose to keep being a rebel, and fight the society.
Beatty pushed too many of the wrong buttons on Montag. He went “on yelling atpeople and making fun of them” until they cracked. Montag was not passiveanymore. He would feel no reluctance to threaten or attack than if he was stilla true fireman, like the rest. When Montag chooses to burn Beatty, it is evidentthat Montag has almost completed his change. He no longer conforms with society,no longer hides himself from society in safety, but rebels! By killing Beatty,it shows that he is a totally changed person. He wants to change the society. Hewants to teach the people about the books, so that they will not repeat themistakes of war and destruction. Montag is not walking blind anymore. He isseeing 20/20 vision, and sprinting full pace!Montag’s change is finally stated when he joins the new society thatvalued books in the countryside. He could continue the fight better if he waswith a group of people. Montag said he was “blind when he tried to do things hisway,” planting books and sending alarms. He knew he could be helped and taughtin the group. If two heads are better than one, then six heads would workwonders. His fight against the corrupt views of the society were shared by thesepeople. They also valued the books and their importance. Montag shows that hehas fully completed his changing. He becomes a part of a society that is totallyopposite from the society of the city. The society outside values books, and byjoining it, Montag shows that he is changed from rebel to the ultimate rebel, asoldier of an army that has a strong influential power because of it’sattraction to books and their meanings.
In Fahrenheit 451, Montag, a dedicated fireman and book burner changescharacter and opinion through the help of influential characters and events,gradually transforming into an individualistic person of the society, arebellious soldier in an army of readers. Montag first changes when he meetsClarisse, opening his eyes and being able to see his own faults and those of thesociety. He changes further when he questions himself and thinks about hislifestyle after learning how powerful the meaning in the books are when thewoman insists on dying. Montag learns the importance of books in the societywhen he meets Faber, learning how the meaning in books can be applied to what ishappening in society. Killing Beatty shows his change from being a passivereader and spy to an active revolutionary. Finally, Montag’s changes arecompleted when he joins the organization that values books, therefore becoming asoldier of an influential army.
Cite this Fahrenheit 451: Change
Fahrenheit 451: Change. (2018, Dec 04). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/fahrenheit-451-change/