In Fahrenheit 451, what role does the unidentified old woman play in Montag's character development?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

This unidentified woman tries to portray herself at the beginning as a innocent by-stander to the call that the men have come to address. After the men go about and prepare the house, and the books, she tells them

"You can't ever have my books."

What impacts Montag most during these moments is the fact that she then stays on the scene that the men intend to light on fire, near the books. Even though Montag pulls her away she stays. After Beatty begins a countdown, she remains there and pulls her own match out and lights the fire choosing to die herself with the books. She plays the role of an enlightener or a trigger to Montag. She introduces to him that these books have value worth dying for. She is almost a martyr for the process of thought and this leaves great impact on Montag. It triggers his desire to be on a quest to learn about why a person would do such a thing.


Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on

Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial