The Change of Guy Montag in the Dystopian Novel Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
“You must make a decision that you are going to move on. It won’t happen automatically.
You will have to rise up and say, ‘I don’t care how hard this is, I don’t care how disappointed I am, I’m not going to let this get the best of me. I’m moving on with my life.” – Joel Osteen. Most people think that life is easy. They don’t have to make very big decisions that often, causing them to struggle when the day comes where they have to. However, when one has to decide whether to move on or to stay where they are, people usually have to work to forget about their past and move forward. In Ray Bradbury’s dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451, protagonist Guy Montag begins as an arrogant man who proceeds to forget about his past as well as become a more analytical person with the help of a strongly influential relationship with a girl named Clarisse.
Before the epiphanies that would change his life forever, Montag begins as an arrogant man, who is captivated by everything about him. For example, when returning to the firehouse: [Montag] knew that when he returned, he might wink at himself, a minstrel man,
burnt-corked, in the mirror. Later, going to sleep, he would feel the fiery smile
still gripped by his face muscles in the dark. It never went away, that smile. (4) This shows that truly is obsessed with everything he does, and he shows it. This also shows that
he will always be hooked on his life in a bad way. As a result, Montag stays in an arrogant stage for most of his life.
Montag is like every other person in his society, until a highly influential relationship forms with the one person that isn’t: a girl named Clarisse. For example, when Montag is walking in the rain:
[Montag saw Clarisse] walking in the center of the sidewalk with her head up and
the few drops falling on her face. She smiled when she saw Montag.
He said hello and then said, “What are you up to now?” “I’m still crazy. The rain feels good. I love to walk in it.”
“I don’t think I’d like that,” he said.
“You might if you tried.”
“I never have.”
[…] And she ran off and left him standing there in the rain. Only after a
long time did he move.
And then, very slowly, as he walked, he tilted his head back in the rain, for
just a few moments, and opened his mouth…. (19, 21)
This shows that, before Montag had met Clarisse, he would’ve never thought of doing something like tasting rain, but after he is wanting to experience new things, wanting to change into a better man. This also shows that Montag’s trust in Clarisse is starting to grow as their relationship
develops into a stronger, more powerful relationship. As a result, Clarisse is a major part in transforming Montag’s life into a new one.
After his encounters with Clarisse, Montag changes into a more analytical human being.
For example, when playing a game of poker with Captain Beatty, Montag says:
“I-I’ve been thinking. About the fire last week. About the man whose library we fixed. What happened to him?”
“They took him off screaming to the asylum.”
“He wasn’t insane.”
This shows that Montag has developed a new sense of thinking; one that thinks carefully about everything and doesn’t just skim over details. This also shows that he is starting to realize what he has done to the people around him. As a result, Montag understands that in order to actually think about things, he needs to really focus on whatever he is trying to think about.
Before meeting Clarisse, Guy Montag was an arrogant man who didn’t think much about life. He went through his daily routine until he got the motivation to change from the influential relationship he had with a girl named Clarisse. He then changed into a man who wanted to think more about what he was doing. Although it took work, Montag was determined to change his life from bad to good.
Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster, 1951. Print.