What are 8 important events that occur in Fahrenheit 451?

Quick Answer

  1. Montag meets Clarisse.
  2. Montag discovers that Mildred overdosed on sleeping pills.
  3. Montag watches as a woman chooses to burn with her books.
  4. Montag learns from Mildred that Clarisse died.
  5. Beatty visits Montag and explains the origins of book burning.
  6. Montag and Faber plan to destroy the fireman system.
  7. Mildred tells the police about Montag's books. In the resulting chaos, Montag kills Beatty and is forced to flee.
  8. Montag meets some individuals who memorize books. They watch the destruction of the city and prepare for the reconstruction of civilization.

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Hollis Sanders eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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  • Montag meets Clarisse, a strange girl who causes Montag to question the nature of society and his role in it, his values, and the effectiveness of the existing power structure.
  • On the job as a "fireman," Montag and his team raid a house where a woman is keeping contraband books. Rather than suffer on the authorities' terms, the woman instead immolates with her books. This astounds Montag, who is moved to steal a book from the home.
  • Montag learns of the death of Clarisse and is suspicious of the circumstances.
  • With the help of a retired English professor named Faber, Montag plots to overthrow the current power structure. Beatty, Montag's chief, is suspicious of Montag's activity and tries to make him see reason without direct accusation.
  • Montag, furious at the vapid nature of his wife and her friends' lives, reads them the poem "Dover Beach."
  • Horrified, his wife contacts the authorities, and Montag is called as a fireman to burn down his own home.
  • In a climactic confrontation with Beatty, Montag kills his boss. However, it is implied that Beatty was world-weary himself and allowed his own death.
  • Montag escapes the city and lives among a fringe society of scholars who memorize books so that they may rebuild the intellectual world when the society of the book-burners inevitably collapses.

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kmj23 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Here are eight key events from Fahrenheit 451:

  1. Montag meets Clarisse, his seventeen-year-old neighbour, whose way of thinking is very different to his own. She is carefree and non-conformist and more interested in tasting the rain than driving fast in her Beetle.
  2. At work, Montag attends a house where the lady stays to be burned with her books. Montag is amazed by her sacrifice and steals one of her books.
  3. After Montag doesn't see Clarisse for a few days, Mildred reveals that she has died. This has a profound effect on Montag: the next day, for example, he develops a fever and misses work.
  4. Beatty visits Montag at home and explains that the people, not the government, introduced book-burning.
  5. Montag calls on Faber, a retired English professor, and forms an "insidious plan" to  bring down the fireman system.
  6. Montag reads "Dover Beach" to his wife and her two friends, Mrs Phelps and Mrs Bowles. The poem's message reduces Mrs Phelps to tears because it reveals her empty and shallow existence.
  7. Mildred reports Montag's hidden collection of books and leaves him. After her departure, Montag kills Beatty.
  8. After fleeing the city, Montag meets some retired professors who have memorised books for future generations. Together, they watch the destruction of the city and prepare for its rebuilding. 
Further Reading:

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sullymonster eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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1) Clarisse, Montag's 17 year old neighbor, asks him if he is happy.  This leads him to question himself and his life and his state of mind.

2) This is quickly followed by the discovery of Mildred, who has overdosed on sleeping pills.  This reinforces Montag's new suspicion that no one in his world is actually happy.

3) The elderly lady burns herself in the pile of books Montag and his fellow firemen have been sent to destroy.  Montag is so affected he spares one book to take home with him.

4) Montag goes to see Faber who helps to strengthen Montag's new belief about the importance of books and agrees to help sabotage the work of the firemen.

5) Captain Beatty, who knows of Montag's rebellious ideas, brings Montag to his own house and manages to bait him into burning it down.

6) Montag mistakenly kills Beatty, then turns the flames on the Mechanical Hound.  He takes off, a fugitive.

7) Faber takes off for St. Louis and Montag takes off to the forest to keep himself from being arrested.

8) Montag meets the "book covers", a group of rebels who have each memorized an entire book for safe keeping.  He turns back towards the city with them, caught up in their belief that civilization needs them.

Further Reading:

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