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During the first card game at the firehouse, Montag is already beginning to think about his job and his life, and how the world came to be the way it is. He asks Captain Beatty if "it was always like this". In other words, if firefighters had always started fires, if books had always been banned, etc. This is a direct result of Clarisse's influence, as her friendship has prompted Montag to question his world.
The other men are shocked when Montag asks this. They point to the established history, the one they were taught growing up, and which they have swallowed without doubt. They bring out their rulebooks and show Montag the code of the firefighter, and laugh at his audacity. To them, he's just a troublemaker. They're content with their lives, and they don't like anyone threatening that. Like Mildred, they're not willing to admit unhappiness or any kind of discontent. But Montag is different. It is this willingness to question authority that will lead Montag done the path to rebellion. Eventually, he will be forced to embrace his dissent and escape from the authoritarian society.
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