Based on the five elements of a quest, which character/s enter into a quest in the book Fahrenheit 451?

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In Fahrenheit 451, Guy Montag is most readily identified as a quester. His journey through the stages of the quest is clear and, when he joins a band of like-minded men, the reader can see that this journey will continue. A quest involves an intellectual, moral, and/or spiritual journey, not just a physical one. Ray Bradbury makes the novel more complicated, however, by including characters who embody some aspects of the quest but do not complete it, either because they are prevented from doing so or because they voluntarily stop. These characters are Clarisse, the old woman, and Faber. In addition, the other book men whom Montag joins have previously entered their own quests and committed to following their chosen path.

As Montag grows increasingly dissatisfied with his society, he decides to make changes. When we meet him, he has already begun hiding books in his house. His commitment to pursuing and sharing the knowledge in them takes a definite turn, showing that he has identified a destination, when he reads “Dover Beach” to his wife and her friends. The old woman’s death and Beatty’s rationalization of the destructive nature of their work both help him find a reason for continuing. He faces challenges including confronting and killing Beatty and running from the Hound. Successfully eluding capture, he joins his fellow questers.

Clarisse’s quest for knowledge and sociability has her family’s support. Even taking a walk and conversing with a stranger—socially unacceptable activities—are elements of her quest. Her disappearance and apparent death represented young people’s thwarted future in the repressive society. In contrast, the old woman who burns with her books, is at the other end of the temporal spectrum. She has chosen the path of knowledge, holding onto her books and what they contain, and sees her final decision as consistent with that earlier choice.

Faber is similar to the woman in keeping books, but as he begins to share them, he embarks on a different, dangerous journey. While he cannot physically continue with Montag, his inner transformation occurs when he makes a new friend and helps him along his path.

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1. The questor: Montag is the protagonist of the novel and a fireman in Bradbury's dystopian society.

2. The destination: Montag is motivated to leave his life as a fireman behind and engage in intellectual pursuits. In order for Montag to pursue knowledge, he must flee the dystopian city and travel into the wilderness, where he joins a group of traveling intellectuals.

3. A stated reason or apparent reason for the quest: Montag embarks on his quest for knowledge in order to find meaning in life. Montag is tired of his mundane, uneventful life of censoring literature by burning books. After speaking with Clarisse and Faber, Montag is motivated to find a place where he can engage in intellectual pursuits without fear of being arrested.

4. Obstacles or challenges: Montag struggles to avoid being arrested for possessing illegal novels and desperately tries to prevent Captain Beatty from brainwashing him into believing that being a fireman is a worthy occupation. In addition to fearing Captain Beatty, Montag must also avoid the Mechanical Hound, which can severely injure or kill him.

5. Understanding the real reason for the quest: Montag wishes to live in a society that preserves knowledge and does not censor literature. In addition to seeking a fulfilling life, Montag wishes to rebuild a literate, tolerant society that values knowledge, education, and literature.

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The five elements of a quest are the following:

A quester: In Fahrenheit 451, the quester is Montag, the protagonist.

A destination: In this novel there is not so much a physical destination as a psychic one, though Montag does, in fact, set out for a physical destination near the end of the novel. Montag's "destination" after he deals with two "wake-up calls" is for a more authentic, connected life. The two events that motivate him to want to seek a better life are meeting Clarisse and Mildred's suicide attempt. His physical destination at the end of the novel is anywhere outside of the city and away from the state, which is trying to kill him.

A stated or apparent reason for the quest: Montag initially wants to plant books in firemen's houses. He also simply wants to read books.

Obstacles or challenges: Montag's quest for a more authentic, connected life meets two obstacles: Clarisse's death and Mildred's fear of any change. Montag's quest to plant books in firemen's houses meets an obstacle when Mildred betrays him and he faces arrest for owning books. His attempted escape from the city meets the obstacle of the mechanical hound trying to kill him, as well as pursuit by helicopters.

Understanding the real reason for the quest: Once Montag escapes, he realizes it is not so much books themselves that are important but preserving their knowledge in any way possible, in order to help humans rebuild from the nuclear holocaust that has descended at the end of the novel.

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Guy Montag goes on a quest in Fahrenheit 451. The first element of the quest is the quester. Montag is the quester, as he is searching for something different and something that can make him happy at the beginning of the story. His life with Mildred leaves him lonely and sad, and he wants something new, away from the government-controlled television screens. When he meets Clarisse, he finds the second element of a quest--somewhere to go. He leaves the world he knows and gets to know her family, who, unlike most people in the society, walk and have discussions rather than watching television all day. He also has the third element, a reason to go on a quest, as he begins to feel alienated from his life and his work as a fireman. He also encounters the fourth element, challenges. Beatty, his fire captain, becomes suspicious of him, and then the mechanical Hound changes Montag as he tries to escape. Finally, Montag meets the fifth criterion of the quest, as he gains self-knowledge by leaving the world he knows and joining the people who have memorized books and who live far from his city. 

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