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In Part 1 of Fahrenheit 451, "The Hearth and the Salamander," when talking to Beatty,...

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ash901 | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 7, 2012 at 3:39 AM via web

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In Part 1 of Fahrenheit 451, "The Hearth and the Salamander," when talking to Beatty, what quote does Montag say that largely contradicts his way of life as a fireman?

 

This is when Montag is talking to Captain Beatty, while everyone is playing cards. This takes place between their conversation and the time in which Montag finds out about Clarisse's death. What quote makes you believe that Montag is having a complete change of thinking about the job he does? This quote must largely contradict his previous thoughts.

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amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 7, 2012 at 2:26 PM (Answer #1)

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Montag begins to have a change of thinking when he starts to have conversations with Clarisse. She prompts him to question things and question himself. One quote, during the card game, which signifies a continuance of Montag's self examination (and a departure from his old way of thinking) is:

"I've tried to imagine," said Montag, "just how it would feel. I mean, to have firemen burn our houses and our books."

A key word in this quote is "imagine." Prior to Montag's awakening, he had gone through life passively, without questioning the status quo. The fact that he starts actively trying to imagine the effects of starting fires is significant. The fact that he voices it to Beatty and the other firemen is more significant because he's confronting the enforcers of the status quo.

Another quote that shows Montag has been examining his life and his society is when he asks if it is true that firemen used to put out fires. "Didn't firemen prevent fires rather than stoke them up and get them going?" At this point, Montag feels that Clarisse is speaking for him.

Both of these quotes reflect Montag's awakening. He never used to question anything about his life. Now, he's questioning his own happiness, the work of firemen, and his society in general.

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