In Fahrenheit 451, how does Montag feel after he discovers that Clarisse has died? Where is this part found in the book?

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In the book, Montag finds out that Clarisse is dead when Beatty comes to his house and tells him.  Go to that part, then look at what Montag thinks and says after Beatty leaves the house.  You can tell from those things that he is deeply saddened by Clarisse dying.

Montag shows his feelings about Clarisse's death through what he thinks.  First, he thinks about what Clarisse said to him.  He thinks about how she talked to him about her family and how they liked to talk.  Montag thinks about this and about how different that was from what is normal in their society.  Second, he thinks about how he liked Clarisse so much better than he liked his firefighter colleagues.

So he is clearly saddened and he is thinking about how he dislikes the society he lives in.  He is coming around to Clarisse's way of thinking.

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tinicraw | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Montag finds out that Clarisse has died when he asks his wife Mildred about her. It has been a few days, though, so Mildred has to think back to when things changed in her neighborhood to give the information to her husband. Mildred is so distracted with her own life of watching TV that she doesn't even care when a neighbor family all of a sudden goes missing.

First, Montag asks his wife about Clarisse the day after he witnesses an old lady kill herself for her books. Mildred doesn't remember who the young girl is at first, but then after a little mind-jogging, she says the following:

"Whole family moved out somewhere. But she's gone for good. I think she's dead . . . McClellan. Run over by a car. Four days ago. I'm not sure. But I think she's dead. The family moved out anyway. I don't know. But I think she's dead" (47).

Montag is shocked that his wife doesn't really know for sure about the death of a neighbor, but she can certainly tell him when the clown program airs on television. He lies quietly after discovering Clarisse is dead. It's as if Montag's only connection to humanity died for him. Clarisse's death motivates Montag to think about how people drive so crazily in his world that they don't even care if they run over a human being. He starts to feel like the whole world is careless and thoughtless—something he hasn't felt or thought before.


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