When Beatty says to Montag "your house, your clean-up," what does he mean?

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samson98 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Toward the end of Fahrenheit 451--after Beatty, the fire chief, has already given Montag a veiled warning about hiding books instead of burning them--Montag goes on a call, just like he has done hundreds of times before. But this call is different; the house he must burn is his own. Montag committed the cardinal sin for a fireman--reading and hiding books--and Beatty intends to force Montag to make restitution for his crime. Thus, he tells Montag "your house, your clean-up," and he requires Montag to burn the house by himself with a flamethrower. Meanwhile, Beatty mocks Montag with literary quotations. Of course, Montag turns the tables on Beatty, killing him and narrowly escaping from the Mechanical Hound (although the Hound injures him).