In Fahrenheit 451, how does Montag feel about burning his own house?

In Fahrenheit 451, Montag's feelings about burning his own house are conflicted. However, as he directs the flamethrower against his possessions, he feels an overwhelming sense of relief and catharsis in destroying the evidence of a compromised past and an unhappy marriage.

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Towards the beginning of part 3, Montag is surprised to arrive at his home during a routine firecall and learns that Mildred called in an alarm on him. Beatty then instructs Montag to use a flamethrower to burn his own house, which is a more tedious, personal experience for Montag....

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Towards the beginning of part 3, Montag is surprised to arrive at his home during a routine firecall and learns that Mildred called in an alarm on him. Beatty then instructs Montag to use a flamethrower to burn his own house, which is a more tedious, personal experience for Montag. Beatty wants Montag to physically and visually experience the consequences of his actions and knows he will enjoy burning his home. Beatty subscribes to the ideology that burning one's problems is good, and fire is the ultimate antiseptic to cleanse a flawed, unpredictable world.

Although Montag is concerned about his desperate situation, he takes pleasure in burning his home. Bradbury writes that Montag wanted to "change everything" and experienced a sense of relief and satisfaction torching the parlour walls, cosmetics chest, and other pieces of furniture. Wielding the flamethrower gives Montag a feeling of control as he destroys the remnants of his former life. As the flames consume the household objects, Montag frees himself from the depressing memories of an unhappy marriage and unfulfilling lifestyle. Burning his home is a cathartic experience for Montag, who desires to completely erase his past. Bradbury describes Montag's feelings by saying,

And as before, it was good to burn, he felt himself gush out in the fire, snatch, rend, rip in half with flame, and put away the senseless problem. If there was no solution, well then now there was no problem, either. Fire was best for everything.

Montag does not experience any remorse or guilt while burning his home, because his house possesses nothing but empty, regretful memories. Other than his book collection, Montag is not sentimentally attached to anything in his home and takes pleasure in destroying everything. He feels spiritually cleansed and renewed while torching his home and becomes quite numb when he finishes.

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When Beatty commands Montag to burn his own house at the beginning of part 3 of Fahrenheit 451, he muses about the nature of fire and why it is so appealing to people:

What is fire? It's a mystery. Scientists give us gobbledegook about friction and molecules. But they don't really know. Its real beauty is that it destroys responsibility and consequences. A problem gets too burdensome, then into the furnace with it. Now, Montag, you're a burden. And fire will lift you off my shoulders, clean, quick, sure; nothing to rot later. Antibiotic, aesthetic, practical.

Beatty then instructs Montag to use a flamethrower, even though this is one of the more laborious ways of burning down a house. The use of the flamethrower, however, means that Montag will be directing the fire, actively turning it on each of the objects he burns rather than just setting a match to a random conflagration.

In giving these orders, Beatty both predicts and directs Montag's feelings about burning his house. He knows that Montag will be sorry to lose his books, but he also knows that there will be relief and elation in the act of burning away the past. Life is complex, but fire is simple, and Montag has been in conflict with himself too long not to feel that a burden is being lifted from his shoulders as he burns the house where he and Mildred have been unhappy and where her friends have spied on him. Montag takes pleasure in destroying all the evidence of their life together and feels a sense of catharsis in ridding himself of all these accumulated possessions. He even feels "himself gush out in the fire" as it does his bidding.

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At the beginning of Part Three, Beatty tells Montag to burn down his house with a flamethrower. Initially, Faber (listening in on the conversation) asks Montag if he can run away, but Montag knows he cannot escape because the Hound is somewhere in the vicinity.

Despite some initial reluctance, Montag has no choice but to go inside with the flamethrower, and his reaction to this task is surprisingly positive, as we see in the text:

And as before, it was good to burn, he felt himself gush out in the fire, snatch, rend, rip in half with flame, and put away the senseless problem.

Setting fire to his possessions is, perhaps, cathartic for Montag. As he watches his home burn, he is released from the burden of living a double life in which he had to balance his duties as a fireman with his increasing desire to bring censorship in his society to an end. Thanks to the fire, he no longer has to worry about hiding his books, nor does he have to listen to the constant noise of the parlor walls. His marriage, too, is over, since Mildred has already left.

Burning his home gives Montag a second chance. He can now put his plans with Faber into action. But, in order to take that chance, he must first evade Beatty and the Hound.

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When forced to burn his own house by Chief Beatty, Montag feels conflicting emotions. He is sorry to burn the books, sorry to burn his house itself in some ways because it still has happy memories for him. He is also filled with rage about being turned in by Mildred and filled with angry joy at being able to destroy the parlour television screens, which he hates so much.

And as before, it was good to burn, he felt himself gush out in the fire, snatch, rend, rip in half with flame, and put away the senseless problem. If there was no solution, well then now there was no problem, either. Fire was best for everything!
(Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451, Google Books)

He returns, in a way, to the joy he took in burning at the beginning of the book, but does not have the visceral reaction he had to burning books themselves; instead, he feels the need to destroy everything, since everything -- not just television, not just books -- is part of the problem. The burning is liberating because everything that ties him to the city is destroyed; it is emotionally trying because he feels a connection to the books; it is joyous because he is finally able to escape convention and conformity and do something wrong in public, without condemnation.

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