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In Fahrenheit 451, what did the railroad tracks mean to Montag?

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bigtymkyle | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 9, 2011 at 5:05 PM via web

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In Fahrenheit 451, what did the railroad tracks mean to Montag?

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akannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 9, 2011 at 7:19 PM (Answer #1)

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In the most simplistic of ways, the railroad tracks mean that Montag is to change into his new form. The tracks lead to the group of wanderers known as "the book covers."  As he follows them, Montag knows that he has shed his identity from the city as a fireman, once and for all.  He knows that such a consciousness is dead and that there can be no going back.  It is why he thinks of Clarisse as Montag walks along the tracks.  Once the tracks lead to Granger and the new group, Montag is able to embrace his new identity and his new conception of self.  The change that was initiated by Clarisse's interaction and the question of "Are you happy?" has now led to this new form of being a "book cover."  The railroad tracks represents this new conception of self and Montag recognizes this.  He understands that his new identity lies as he follows these tracks away from the city and towards a new sense of self.  In the end, this is what the tracks mean and what they represent to Montag.  In a condition where Montag needed guidance and understanding in his reconception of self, the railroad tracks provided a physical path to follow in order to achieve a sense of internal change.

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