How is Clarisse different from the other teens in her society?
Clarisse is portrayed as uniquely different from the other teens her age throughout the novel and is considered an outcast among her peers. Clarisse is a sensitive, insightful, curious girl who values nature, communication, and family. Unlike her peers, Clarisse is not callous, violent, or superficial. However, Clarisse is considered antisocial because she enjoys genuine conversations about life and nature. In Bradbury's dystopian society, immediate entertainment and satisfaction are valued and sharing ideas is discouraged. Clarisse's peers would rather play sports, watch thrilling movies, or engage in violent acts instead of enjoying nature or having a meaningful discussion. Clarisse tells Montag that her classmates bully and even kill one another, which is why she fears teens her age. Clarisse does not fit in and keeps to herself in school. Her unique outlook on life and sensitive disposition contrasts with the violent, shallow personalities of her peers.
Not only is she different from other teens in her society, but she is different from all other people in this society. They are encouraged NOT to think but to sit in their living rooms and watch the screens on the wall as if this were real life. Clarisse is actually entertaining original thought through observation, questioning, and her five senses. She encourages Montag to do the same, and he is intrigued by the idea. Her family also talks about the past and how things used to be, and she relays these ideas. He is intrigued by this as well. With each conversation she and Montag have, he questions things more and more. She is ultimately the catalyst that begins his "awakening".
The society in Fahrenheit 451 is based on hedonism, which is the pursuit of pleasure. In this society, it is primarily physical pleasure and experience. Clarisse, however, isn't interested in the activities that promote this. She likes to be with people and to share ideas, to talk. In her innocence, she questions the goals and priorities of her fellow teens, as well as of Montag.