Characters Discussed (Cyclopedia of Literary Characters, Revised Third Edition)
Guy Montag, a fireman in an era when that job entails burning books. Although he has enjoyed burning books for ten years, his enthusiasm wanes after he smuggles a book out of the home of an old lady whose house and book collection are burned. Convinced that books can prevent humankind from making the mistakes that lead to wars, he joins forces with Faber to arrange for the duplication of books and to eavesdrop on the firemen. After his house and books are burned, Montag kills Captain Beatty and follows the railroad tracks out of town. With the assistance of Faber, he eludes the Mechanical Hounds that pursue him and is taken in by a group of former college professors, all of whom have memorized books. Although Montag initially believes that he does not belong with these people, the destruction of the city jogs his memory, and he is able to recall part of the Book of Ecclesiastes and the Book of Revelation. Like the others, he plans to pass down what he has memorized to others.
Mildred Montag, Montag’s wife. Instead of thinking, as Montag and Clarisse do, she escapes from her stifling existence by driving at excessive speed or by listening to the thimble radios in her ears and watching the wall-to-wall circuit television. Out of frustration, she swallows an entire bottle of sleeping pills and has to have her blood replaced. Because she cannot understand Montag’s appreciation of literature, she turns him in to the firemen. Montag mourns her after she dies in the atomic explosion.
(The entire section is 660 words.)
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