In what scenes does Clarisse bring out dramatic responses from Montag, and how does she lead him toward self realization?This is really troubling me. I can't seem to figure it out. Please...

In what scenes does Clarisse bring out dramatic responses from Montag, and how does she lead him toward self realization?

This is really troubling me. I can't seem to figure it out. Please help me, this is not an essay question.   These are just my own thoughts.

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schulzie | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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Clarisse is a free thinker, something that isn't encouraged in the society in which they both live.  The first contact Montag has with Clarisse, he describes her face as having "a soft and constant light in it",  and it invokes memories of his childhood.

"One time, as a child, in a power failure, his mother had found and lit a last candle and there had been a brief hour of rediscovery, of such illumination that space lost its vast dimensions and drew comfortably around them, and they, mother and son, alone, transformed, hoping that the power might not come on again too soon.." (pg 7)

He feels comfortable with this young lady, and she helps him rediscover himself.  She asks him some simple questions.  When she asks him if he knew about the dew on the grass, 

"He suddenly couldn't remember if he had known this or not, and it made him quite irritable." (pg 9)

When she asks him about the man in the moon, he realized he hadn't looked for a long time. He looks!  When they ended that first visit, he had reacted to her.

"They walked the rest of the way in silence, hers thoughtful, his a kind of clenching and uncomfortable silence in which he shot her accusing glances." (pg 9)

Why does he shoot her accusing glances?  She has awakened in him something he didn't want to recognize. At their next meeting, she tells him about tasting rain, and she rubs a dandelion under her chin. If it rubs off, she is supposed to be in love. She then rubs it under his chin.  It didn't rub off, and she declares that he isnt in love with anyone. 

"'I am, very much in love!' He tried to conjure up a face to fit the words, but there was no face. 'I am!'"(pg 22)

She then asks him about his job and how he got involved with such a job. This is where she gets his real dramatic shift.  She says,

"You're not like the others. I've seen a few; I know.  When I talk, you look at me.  When I said something about the moon, you looked at the moon, last night.  The others would never do that.  The others would walk off and leave me talking.  Or threaten me.  No one has time any more for anyone else.  You're one of the few who put up with me. That's why it is so strange you're a fireman. It just doesn't seem right for you somehow." (pg 23-24)

She has stimulated thought in Montag, something he believes about himself.  He has already started collecting books in his ventilator, so she is reaffirming something in him he isn't ready to recognize.   She now has him thinking, something they do not encourage in their society. 

"He felt his body divide itself into a hotness and a coldness, a softness and a hardness, a trembling and a not trembling, the two halves grinding one upon the other." (pg 24)

  She continues to tell him about herself during their visits, and he starts to see things from her eyes.  Suddenly the world isn't the same because now he has been made aware by this young girl.  Once you are made aware, you really can't ignore things.  He suddenly sees that people don't talk about anything, and that he really doesn't know is wife anymore.

"How do you get so empty? he wondered.  Who takes it out of you? And that awful flower the other day, the daandelion!  It had summed up everything, hadn't it? 'What a shame, you're not in love with anyone.' And why not?" (pg 44)  

Clarisse is the person who incites all the behavior that follows.  Bradbury uses her for that specific purpose and then she disappears, a victim of her own free thinking.


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