The society that exists in Fahrenheit 451 does not appreciate academic learning, in-depth reading, and quality education. They have evolved into a society that demands pleasure over learning, visual and audio entertainment over reading, and recreation, such as driving fast cars, over education. Anyone behaving differently than this hedonist standard of living is considered antisocial or a misfit. For example, Clarisse McClellan is a 17 year-old girl who behaves differently because she has an uncle who teaches her about life before the current society. Beatty describes how she as an individual was viewed by society:
"She was a time bomb. The family had been feeding her subconscious, I'm sure, from what I saw of her school record. She didn't want to know how a thing was done, but why. That can be embarrassing" (60).
Clarisse was different, so they got rid of her. She really was an innocent victim because she had no defense against a society that didn't like her individuality and free-thinking spirit.
Next, Montag is at odds with society as well. He looks around at his life and feels as if something is missing. He notices a few things about society that disturb him and he tells his friend Faber about them as follows:
"Nobody listens any more. I can't talk to the walls because they're yelling at me. I can't talk to my wife; she listens to the walls. I just want someone to hear what I have to say. And maybe if I talk long enough, it'll make sense" (82).
The above passage shows that Montag struggles against the accepted norms in society that seem to divide people rather than bring them together. In an effort to explain things to Montag, Faber says the following:
"The whole culture's shot through. The skeleton needs melting and reshaping. . .The public itself stopped reading of its own accord. You firemen provide a circus now and then at which buildings are set off and crowds gather for the pretty blaze, but it's a small sideshow indeed, and hardly necessary to keep things in line" (87).
Faber's explanation centers around the fact that people, not a controlling, evil government, are the problem with society. Values have shifted since before the wars and the change of society. Faber used to teach college English, and he saw a decline in interest and appreciation for literature until finally it was outlawed. A shift in society's whole mind frame brought down the quality and value of literature, deep thinking, philosophy, and the like. When society went one way, there were only a few individuals who held onto the old values. The few in Fahrenheit 451 who fight against society, then, are Clarisse, Faber, and Montag.