In Fahrenheit 451, what two observations does Clarisse make about Montag's conversational mannerisms?

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Lynn Ramsson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Though this question asks for two observations, more than two are actually observable during the initial interaction between Clarisse and Montag.

Within the first moments of their meeting, Clarisse tells Montag that she does not feel scared of him at all, despite his role as a fireman. This feedback suggests that Clarisse finds Montag's conversational style and his mannerisms unexpectedly approachable.

Later in the conversation, when Clarisse asks Montag questions about his work, he laughs at her, and she says to him, "You laugh when I haven't been funny and you answer right off. You never stop to think what I've asked you." She observes that he laughs at what she perceives to be odd or inappropriate moments and that he does not take much time to consider her questions; both of these observations take Montag by surprise, and he feels the need to prove himself by showing Clarisse the 451 numerals on his uniform.

Finally, Clarisse asks Montag if he is happy as she goes into her house. This question implies that Clarisse thinks that Montag is not happy. Montag is further disturbed by her question about his emotional life, and he begins to question himself as a result of this destabilized feeling inspired by Clarisse and her observations.

gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When Montag meets Clarisse for the first time, she asks him if it is true that firemen used to put out fires instead of starting them. Montag replies by saying "No," and begins to laugh. Clarisse immediately turns to Montag and asks him why he is laughing. Montag replies by saying, "I don't know...Why?" (Bradbury, 3). Clarisse responds by saying,

"You laugh when I haven't been funny and you answer right off. You never stop to think what I've asked you" (Bradbury, 3).

Clarisse initially observes Montag's ignorance and acceptance of the popular ideology. Montag is unwilling to think deeply about controversial topics and attempts to use humor to avoid the subject. His laugh indicates that he is uncomfortable with Clarisse's comments. 

Throughout their second conversation, Clarisse asks Montag if he noticed the stretched-out billboards. Montag laughs as he says, "I think so. Yes" (Bradbury, 13). Clarisse responds by commenting on Montag's laugh. Clarisse tells Montag that his laugh sounds more relaxed and is nicer than what it was. Clarisse notices the difference in Montag's demeanor. He feels more relaxed around her and is at ease when he talks to Clarisse.

ladyvols1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The first observation that Clarisse makes about Montag's conversational mannerisms is when they first meet.  Montag begins to laugh when Clarisse asks if firemen didn't used to put out fires.  When Montag laughs at that Clarisse says,
"You laugh when I haven't been funny and you answer right off.  You never stop to think what I've asked you."

The second remark from Clarisse comes the next time the two meet.  They are talking and Clarisse wants to know from Montag how he chose to become a fireman.  She tells him he is not like the other firemen she has met.  She says, "When I talk, you look at me.  When I said something about the moon, you looked at the moon, last night.  The others would never do that."

Clarisse is indicating that she is intrigued by Montag, because he doesn't act like most people who burn books for a living.

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Fahrenheit 451

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