Defend Montag's sickness as physical, emotional, or both.

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schulzie eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It was an emotional illness that manifested itself as physical symptoms.  He manifested chills and fever the morning after the old woman was burnt in her house.  Now the odor of kerosene, which he said earlier never got out of his clothes, makes him vomit. (pg 49). He wants Mildred to call Capt. Beatty.  He can't call him himself because he is afraid and, like a child, "feigning illness" (pg 50).  He is faking his illness because he doesn't want to go to work and burn more books. He realized the night before that "There must be something in books, things we can't imagine to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don't stay for nothing." (pg 51).  He thought about all the books he burnt in the past and suddenly realized that " It took some man a lifetime maybe to put some of his thoughts down, looking around at the world and life, and then I come along in two minutes and boom! it's all over" (pg 52) .  Captain Beatty knows that Montag is faking it.  He comes over with a lecture for him, explaining the history of why they burn books, and then asks him "Will you take another, later shift today?  Will we see you tonight, perhaps?" (pg 63) After the Captain leaves, Montag no longer feels ill, just unhappy and angry.