Trace the steps in "Fahrenheit 451" that lead to Montag’s decision to preserve books rather than destroy them

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luannw | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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Montag was curious about books even before the story began. We know from the very beginning that he had stolen a book or two and hidden them in the ventilator grille.  Clarisse than begins talking to him and subtly points out some of the faults in the society.  That makes Montag begin to question his life. The turning point comes when the old woman won't give up her books; she'd rather burn with them than live without them.  That makes Montag realize that "There must be something in books."  Beatty tells Montag how the society came to be what it is which has the effect of "reverse psychology" in that Montag sees what Beatty praises as good changes as actually very bad changes.  At this point, Montag has changed, but he hasn't decided what to do about this change in him until he talks with Faber.  Then Montag becomes convinced that their society must be brought down from the inside out.  He wants to incriminate the firemen.  When that plan fails and he kills Beatty, then the only course of action left to Montag is to flee and join the book people.

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