In Fahrenheit 451, what is Clarisse's opinion of school?

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belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Montag is enthralled by Clarisse, as she is so totally different from everyone else he knows. She asks questions, seems actually interested in the answers, and is invested in her own opinions rather than repeating what is said on TV and by others. At one point, he asks her why she is always walking and not in school, and she replies that her individuality makes her seem "anti-social," even though she considers herself much more social than her fellow students.

"But I don't think it's social to get a bunch of people together and then not let them talk, do you? An hour of TV class, an hour of basketball or baseball or running, another hour of transcription history or painting pictures, and more sports, but do you know, we never ask questions, or at least most don't..."
(Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451, Google Books)

In other words, Clarisse correctly identifies school as not a place of learning, but a place of indoctrination. She is not there to learn how to think, but to be told what to think; there is no real scope to the school beyond repetition of accepted norms and the control of limited imagination. Students leave the school system unable to concentrate on ideas, but able to memorize and repeat trivia, and so they are unable to change their opinions or even understand that there could be conflicting ideas in any subject.

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Fahrenheit 451

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