How can Shelley's quote below apply to Fahrenheit 451?"Life, although it may only be an accumulation of anguish, is dear to me, and i will defend it."

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MaudlinStreet eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This quote can apply to all characters-Faber, Montag, Clarisse, the nameless woman who chooses to burn with her books-who defend their freedom in any form possible. This is most evident with Faber and Clarisse. Both are openly different from the rest of society: they enjoy walks, don't use the talking walls, and ponder aspects of life Montag never even considered existed. their lives are full of anguish. Clarisse is hounded by the kids at school and her neighbors for her differences, and Faber is forced underground by his connection with others who retain memories of books. Clarisse eventually disappears, & it is heavily suggested that she has been killed. However, she never renounced her ideas. Faber too is forcibly isolated from society, & he suffers from great loneliness and fear of government oppression.

Montag is like both in a way. His life is very unhappy, as he realizes after his first meeting with Clarisse. He doesn't like his job, and in fact feels uncomfortable when he enters the station. His wife attempts suicide, and gets through the days by living through her walls. When she is conscious and spending time with Montag, she has Seashells in her ears, and it is clear there is no human connection between them. Yet Montag has the chance to give up, to give in, & he doesn't. He chooses to fight, even going so far as to kill in order to save his own life. Thus, although he suffers, he defends his life and escapes by running away. In this way, he remains free.

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