What character provides the biggest motivation for Guy Montag in Fahrenheit 451?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are several characters throughout the novel Fahrenheit 451 that could be considered Guy Montag's biggest motivators. I would argue that Montag's neighbor, Clarisse McClellan, provides the most motivation for Montag to change the way he lives and thinks. Clarisse is a delightful teenager whose enthusiasm is contagious. Unlike most of the citizens living in Montag's dystopian novel, Clarisse enjoys nature, conversations, and contemplating the world around her. Her brief interactions with Montag have a profound impact on his life and serve as the catalyst for Montag's journey to self-awareness. After rubbing a dandelion underneath his chin, Clarisse tells Montag that he's not in love. Montag gets upset and insists that he is in fact, in love. This deep question forces Montag to confront reality and reflect on his own life. Montag realizes that he is not in love with his wife, Mildred, and lives an empty life void of purpose. After witnessing a woman commit suicide, Montag steals a book and begins his journey to find meaning in life. Montag's conversations with Clarisse make him contemplate his existence, which motivates him to make a change.