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How has Montag changed from the begining of Fahrenheit 451?

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olko84 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 14, 2013 at 3:36 AM via web

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How has Montag changed from the begining of Fahrenheit 451?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted November 14, 2013 at 6:01 AM (Answer #1)

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Montag goes through a massive process of change in this novel. At the beginning, he is shown to the reader as somebody who loves burning books, and is excited about his job and loves the experience of being in control of fire. He is an agent of destruction, a person who enjoys nothing more than to burn. However, gradually, through his meetings with Clarisse and then through the experience of the woman who would rather die and burn with her books than anything else, he becomes increasingly dissatisfied with his life, and begins to turn to books to find the meaning that he feels is increasingly lacking in his own life. The reader sees that he attains some measure of happiness and peace at the end of the novel when he finally manages to leave the city and escape the Mechanical Hound. Consider the following quote and how Montag's feelings are described:

The river was very real; it held him comfortably and gave him the time at last, the leisure, to consider this month, this year, and a lifetime of years. He listened to his heart slow. His thoughts stopped rushing with his blood.

As he floats away on the river, what Montag finds is that he can slow down and relax; he now has the chance and the "leisure" and the time he needs to think and reflect. This measure of peace and tranquility that he has is supported when he meets the Book People and joins them, having his own fragments to remember. He suddenly has purpose once again, and he attains a measure of contentment. 

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