As a disillusioned, unhappy fireman, Montag has recently been taking books from crime scenes and hiding them in the ventilator of his home. In Bradbury's dystopia, books are censored, and possessing a book is a serious crime. Montag chooses the ventilator of his home as the place to hide his illegal collection of books because he knows Mildred will never discover them. During a seemingly routine firecall in part one, Montag arrives on the scene to find the perpetrator at her home and steals a book from her collection without thinking. After Montag steals the book, he witnesses the old woman commit suicide, which has a profound effect on his psyche and influences him to call off work the next day.
Captain Beatty pays Montag a visit when he calls off and lectures him on the importance of the fireman institution. During Beatty's lecture, Montag has a book hidden underneath his pillow. Mildred makes the situation worse when she attempts to fluff Montag's pillow and he worries that Captain Beatty will discover the book. Montag understands the consequences attached to possessing an illegal book and does not want to be arrested or have his property destroyed. Montag fears that Beatty will discover the book behind his pillow and eventually find the collection hidden in the ventilator. Following Beatty's visit, he sends the Mechanical Hound to sniff around Montag's home as a warning. Later on, Mildred calls an alarm on Montag, and Beatty forces Montag to burn his home.