In Fahrenheit 451, what are some adjectives that describe Montag, Beatty, Faber, Mildred, Clarisse, and the model society?

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As the novel opens, Montag is described as a "minstrel man," suggesting he is playing a part that is not really him, and is twice described as "whistling." But after his encounter with Clarisse, he realizes he is "not happy" and that he has been wearing his happiness like "a mask."

Clarisse is described as having a face that is "milk white," with a "gentle hunger." Her eyes are "dark and shining and alive." Her face is as "bright as snow," and her eyes are like "two miraculous bits of violet amber." All of these descriptive details are magical and luminous, apart from what Montag usually experiences. It is as if Clarisse comes from another world, which, in a sense, she does because of the very different way she and her family live.

Mildred, as Montag finds her after she overdoses, has eyes that are "all glass." She lies on their bed, "uncovered and cold, like a body displayed on the lid of a tomb." Later, she will seem "strange" to him, and her laughter will sound "odd." She is alienated from him, and it often seems she is only half alive—or half dead.

The society they all live in is characterized by "jet cars," "boulevards," and, most of all, "the fourwall televisor" screens that dominate just about everyone's lives. This society is dark, fast-paced, and violent but at the same time empty and deadened, and very much divorced from the natural world.

Beatty is described as sitting amid "thunderheads of tobacco smoke." Later, when Beatty comes to Montag's house when Montag doesn't go to work, he is described as slow and menacingly deliberate in his movements. He lights his pipe, puffing out "a great puff of smoke." He is described over and over again as surrounded by smoke, which befits his dedication to his life as captain of the firemen.

Faber has a "cadenced voice" and a voice that sounds like a "poem." He is "old" and "white"-skinned with white hair. He seems "fragile," but as he grows to trust Montag, he is pictured as "not quite as fragile." He is similar to Clarisse in being associated with the color white, which symbolizes purity and is the opposite of the blackness and smoke associated with fire.

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It is significant that Ray Bradbury's exposition juxtaposes the character of Montag with Clarisse because the marked contrast alerts the reader to the conditions of the society of Farenheit 451. In this contrast and the awakening of Montag as a result of his encounter with Clarisse, the opening line becomes quite ironic: "It was a pleasure to burn." 

  • Montag

After Montag completes his day of burning, he yet wears "the fierce grin of all men singed and driven back by flame" as he walks home whistling, "thinking little at all about nothing in particular." However, after he happens upon Clarisse, his "inner mind" is awakened. For, in the dark eyes of Clarisse, Montag perceives himself, "dark and tiny, in fine detail, the lines about his mouth...." He later wonders at how rarely people's faces "throw back to you your own expression, your own innermost trembling thought?" Most of all, Clarisse awakens Montag to the fact that he is unhappy, disastified with his life.

Indeed, it is this disastifaction with his life that causes Montag to perceive the shallowness and lack of true humanity in Mildred and her friends. Hoping to escape this void, Montag recalls an encounter in the past with a professor; he contacts this man, steals some books from a fire, and renews his humanity.

*Adjectives to describe him: unhappy, unfulfilled, disastified, alert, revolutionary, courageous, and later re-humanized.

  • Clarisse

Clarisse is young, slender with a "milk-white" face that possesses a "gentle hunger that touched over everything with tireless curiosity." Whiteness predominates in her person: her face is white, her clothing is white. There is an intellectually hungry appearance to her face, as well, with her eyes "so dark and shining and alive."

*Adjectives to describe her: pure, innocent, eager, curious, human, introspective, pensive.

  • Beatty

Although he is intelligent and knowledgeable of much literature, Captain Beatty is an expedient man who uses his knowledge to his personal advantage as he quotes from works in order to refute Montag's defense of literature.

*Adjectives to describe Beatty:  expedient, unconscionable, self-serving, treacherous, unfeeling, dangerous 

  • Mildred

Completely indoctrinated by her society, Mildred is but a mannequin of a wife. She is unaware of that she has lost her true humanity, filling her empty life with shows from the giant screen in the living room and conversing hollowly with her equally-idiotic friends. After having nearly killed herself, Mildred denies any awareness of what has happened; furthermore, when Montag tries to awaken her anesthetized mind by reading to her, she becomes angry and later turns her husband in to the authorities.

*Adjectives to describe Mildred:  shallow, empty, devoid of true humanity, tragic, traitorous

  • Faber

Professor Faber is an anachronism in the society of Fahrenheit 451but he is admittedly too cowardly to act against the censorship of thought. However, he does aid Montag by communicating with him with a two-way radio, and he fosters Montag's interest in books and what they can inspire. After he and Montag escape the Mechanical Hounds and they go to live in the secret retreat of book-lovers, Faber finally feels alive again.

*Adjectives to describe Faber: defeated, intelligent, learned, solicitous, re-awakened to a life of meaning

  • The model society

Certainly, the society of Fahrenheit 451 is a dystopia as people are either discontent or dehumanized. It is totalitarian society that dictates people's lives.

*Adjectives to describe the society: dystopian, totalitarian, dangerous, dehumanizing, void, joyless

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Montag:  Unlikely hero, restless, questioning, brave, quiet leader, seeking, changing.

Beatty:  Intelligent, intense, unhappy,

Faber:  Sincere, eager, supressed potential, helpful, selfless.

Mildred:  Shallow, impatient, materialistic, unhappy, misunderstood.

Clarisse:  "A breath of fresh air", real, alive, vibrant, dynamic, intriguing, magnetic.

The model society:  violent, ignorant, dumbed-down, unfortunate, entertained, amused, busy.

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