What is Bradbury's attitude toward Montag and his situation in the beginning of the novel Fahrenheit 451?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In the beginning, Bradbury does not seem to show much sympathy toward Montag.  Part I is titled “It Was a Pleasure to Burn” and in the beginning of the section Montag seems to be enjoying his job as a fireman who burns books.

IT was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed. (part 1)

When we find out Montag is a fireman who starts fires instead of putting them out, we are shocked.  Bradbury cleverly sets us up to wonder what kind of person Montag is, and what is going on.  We know that Bradbury detests Montag at this point.

Montag grinned the fierce grin of all men singed and driven back by flame. (part 1)

Yet, by describing Montag in such detail, we also get inside his head and begin to understand him and see things from his point of view. Bradbury establishes Montag as a character we will come to appreciate.