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In Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, who were Montag's three mentors? Please include...

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schuerman21 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 15, 2012 at 2:10 AM via web

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In Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, who were Montag's three mentors? Please include quotes describing how these people influenced him.

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 15, 2012 at 4:04 AM (Answer #1)

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In Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, there are several people who influence Guy Montag.

The first is Clarisse McClellan, a young neighbor Montag meets who challenges his world view. She asks him questions that, in turn, make him ask questions about his life and even his relationships with others. Clarisse has a different and rebellious way of seeing the world. She knows about how the world used to be. She believes people rush around without seeing anything around them.  Montag accuses her of thinking too much—and her thinking makes him nervous:

"You think too many things," said Montag uneasily.

We can infer that as Clarisse questions the norms of society, that Montag is afraid of getting in trouble because at the beginning of the story, he thinks only about following the rules.

She makes him remember things he had forgotten:

"There's dew on the grass in the morning."

He suddenly couldn't remember if he'd known this or not...

"And if you look"—she nodded at the sky—"there's a man in the moon."

He hadn't looked for a long time.

Finally, she asks him...

"Are you happy?"...

Happy. Of all the nonsense.

The next time Montag sees Clarisse, she tells him that she is forced to go to the psychiatrist.

They want to know what I do with my time. I tell them that sometimes I just sit and think. But I won't tell them what. I've got them running. And sometimes, I tell them, I like to put my head back, like this, and let the rain fall into my mouth. It tastes just like wine.

Another time Clarisse asks why Montag has no kids, and he admits Mildred didn't want any. She apologizes for being a "fool" in asking the question, but he stops her.

"No, no," he said. "It was a good question. It's been a long time since anyone cared enough to ask..."

By this time, Montag thinking on his own, and asking questions. Montag is making connections with the world outside of his house, his job and himself.

Another mentor is Faber. From Faber, Montag learns the importance of books, the danger in having them as well as the courage in having them. Faber asks where Montag's book is from:

"I stole it."

Faber, for the first time, raised his eyes and looked directly into Montag's face. "You're brave."

Faber also shows Montag the importance of taking a stand:

Mr. Montag, you are looking at a coward. I saw the way things were going...I said nothing. 

When Montag escapes into the woods, he meets Granger, a man like himself who wants to save all the books possible, and remember what they say. He tells Montag about irretrievable loss—its permanence. He speaks of his grandfather:

He was part of us and when he died, all the actions stopped dead and there was no one to do them just the way he did. He was an individual. He was an important man.

Losing books is like losing a person—an individual. Lost, the book (or person) can never "speak" again.

One other minor character makes an enormous impact on Montag. Called to burn books in a woman's house, Montag tries to save her:

"Here." Montag pulled at the woman.

The woman replied quietly, "I want to stay here..." She opened the fingers of one hand slightly and in the palm of the hand was a single slender object.

An ordinary kitchen match...

"Go on," said the woman, and Montag felt himself back away...

The woman burns herself and her kerosene-soaked books. She teaches Montag how important some things are, and that one must be ready to make sacrifices. For her, books are worth dying for.

Sources:

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