Fahrenheit 451 Questions and Answers
by Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451 book cover
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Discuss the Opening Scene of "Fahrenheit 451" In "Fahrenheit 451", what is your impression of the opening scene?  What does Bradbury intend with it?

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In the opening scene, Bradbury describes Montag burning books. Bradbury's intention is to show the enjoyment and spectacle of burning. Montag takes a deep delight in it. It is has the aspect of a party for him. We learn that he would like:

to shove a marshmallow on a stick in the furnace, while the flapping pigeon-winged books died on the porch and lawn of the house.

This opening scene is our one and only glimpse of the "old" Montag, the Montag who is at one with his job and his society. He isn't, at this point, thinking about the implications of what he is doing or of whether it is right or wrong to burn books. He has buried his own dissatisfactions and is able to let out his aggressions in a socially acceptable way through the destructive nature of his job. The opening imagery makes his book burning seem enjoyable, even beautiful.

All of this will quickly change, for Montag will meet Clarisse, and she will challenge him to live more deeply. Further, he will soon have to face Mildred's...

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