In Fahrenheit 451, Montag enters his home and stares at a blank wall, but in memory sees Clarisse. What is significant about the comparison made with the extended simile?

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amarang9 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Fahrenheit 451, Clarisse engages Montag in peculiar, thoughtful, meaningful conversation. Mildred is lost in the world of the shows on her parlor walls. Aside from Beatty, Montag's coworkers are mindless drones. Clarisse challenges Montag's assumptions about the way he lives his life and this causes him to reflect upon his own life. Clarisse is blunt about this, closing their conversation by asking Montag if he is happy. By engaging him in thoughtful conversation, she ("her face") is like a mirror because she gets Montag to reflect upon himself. Montag thinks that others rarely listen to you and give something back. Rather, most others are like torches, just spewing out flames until they fizzle out. Clarisse is more human in this way. Others are more passive, more robotic; and the simile between others and torches symbolizes the fact of this society where any kind of thoughtful, humanistic communication is destroyed by the flames. Just as knowledge (books) are destroyed, so is the way people communicate with each other. 

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Fahrenheit 451

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