As the novel opens, Guy Montag has a vague sense of discontent with his life, but he can't figure out what it may be. Most of the people in his life are perfectly happy with their superficial (and super-fast) existence, but Montag senses there is more to life.
Clarisse is the first to encourage Montag to explore his discontent by pointing out little things--like the taste of rain or the fragrance of grass. Montag is fascinated by Clarisse because her depth makes her different from anyone he knows.
Montag collected a number of books in his work, for reasons he didn't understand. Subconsciously he had an idea that the answers to his questions were in the books, but he didn't know how or where to begin. When the firemen burn down a house with a woman inside, Montag decides to at least look inside the books hidden in his house.
The more Montag reads, the more certain he is that there is more to life than what he can see. Faber encourages this train of thought, and Montag begins to grow more determined to understand the deeper philosophies that have been banned by his society.
By the end of the book, Montag has hope for a future that has meaning. The "book-men" embrace him and give him a role that matters: the keeper of Ecclesiastes. As they begin to walk toward the bombed out city, Montag embraces his new role and sense of purpose. He is finally content.