What is a summary of Fahrenheit 451?

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belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Fahrenheit 451 is a short novel, under 50,000 words, and so should be a quick read. It is still in print and is available online and in any major bookstore. In addition, a detailed summary is available here, on eNotes.com.

Here is a brief summary.

Montag is a fireman in the future; he doesn't put out fires, but instead sets them to destroy banned books. He is happy with his life until he meets Clarisse, a free-thinking girl, and discovers his wife, Mildred, overdosed on sleeping pills. People have few individual opinions, instead endlessly repeating the things they see on the ever-present television sets; there are hints of an impending war. Montag starts to question his life and the role of censorship and isolation in society. Clarisse continues to influence his thinking, and then vanishes; it is likely that she is dead. An old woman chooses to die rather than give up her books; Montag steals a book and it is revealed that he has been stealing books for a long time. He tries to read them, to expand his mind, and it becomes clear that his superior, Chief Beatty, suspects that he is a dissident. Montag reads to Mildred's friends, causing a scene, and later Mildred turns him in. Beatty forces Montag to burn his house, but Montag rebels and kills Beatty, fleeing the city to avoid the government. He finds a group of hobos who travel around; they have memorized books and repeat them to spread their influence. After the city is destroyed by bombs, Montag joins the hobos, hoping that he can help them rebuild a better civilization.