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In Fahrenheit 451, how did Montag change through out the novel?

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lowe1357 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 20, 2012 at 7:57 PM via web

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In Fahrenheit 451, how did Montag change through out the novel?

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amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 20, 2012 at 10:39 PM (Answer #1)

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At the beginning of the novel, Montag is a mindless servant of the state. He does not question his role in his marriage or as a fireman and he does not even second guess his own thoughts. His transformation begins after he meets Clarisse. She is the one who gets Montag to begin questioning everything from his own happiness to the reason for burning books. The second part of Montag's transformation is when he starts reading some of the books he'd stolen from the fires. Then he contacts Faber, an English professor, and the ideas they share only adds even more fuel to the fire of Montag's thirst for knowledge. By the end of the novel, Montag has gone from not even being aware of the mental and social prison he was in to an enlightened and increasingly inquisitive state of mind. It is a complete mental transformation. In fact, he becomes knowledge itself when Granger tells him, “If anything should happen to Harris, you are the Book of Ecclesiastes” (134). It is fitting that the novel begins with the word “changed” in italics. “It was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed” (1). This is an ironic twist.  Instead of changing things by destroying them, Montag is changing the world by preserving knowledge and he, in turn, changes himself. 

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