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

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gmuss25's profile pic

gmuss25 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

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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.

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ladyvols1's profile pic

ladyvols1 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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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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