How is the Hound numbing Montag's leg important in Fahrenheit 451?The Hound manages to numb one of Montag's legs, and he has trouble getting away.  How is this important to the story?

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schulzie | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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When the Hound numbs Montag's leg, in many ways it was symbolic of his life.  He wasn't ready to move yet, not prepared. 

 "He was afraid to get up, afraid he might not be able to gain his feet at all, with an anesthetized leg. A numbness in a numbness hollowed into a numbness......" (pg 120)

The numbness of his leg in the numbness of a society which had  made created numb people; people who were unwilling to care, feel,  wonder, or explore.   

The numb leg makes it difficult for him to move, and he almost gives up.  He actually contemplates giving himself up! He has to make a decision.  The pain in his leg slowly dissipates, and he has made his decision.

"No, we'll save what we can, we'll do what there is left to do." (pg 122)

He hobbles down the street where he collapses in the gravel and comes to terms with Beatty's death.  As he does, the pain subsides, and he sets out "in a steady jogging pace" (123) to Faber's house.

It also slows him down enough to almost let the new Hound and possibly the citizenry identify and catch him, which adds excitement at the end of the novel.  If they did not pursue him after killing Beatty, the society would not have been following its own rules. 


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