What is the explanation for why so much has happened to Montag within only a week?

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thetall eNotes educator| Certified Educator

So much has happened to Montag within the span of one week because a lot of things had been piling up and it was only a matter of time before they blew over. After Montag is challenged by Clarrice and changes his stand on books, things are never the same. He goes against the Fireman’s rules by stealing his first book and subsequent books that ultimately lead to his eventual change of heart. However, Montag does not keep his book affair covert and goes on to brandish his books in front of his wife and on one occasion to even read poetry to his wife’s friends. Furthermore, he belts out poetic words in his colleagues’ presence arising suspicion about his position as a fireman. All these leave him vulnerable and he is eventually turned in by his own wife. After Mildred turned on the alarm, everything that happened after was a chain reaction. Montag had to kill Beatty even though he had not planned to because Beatty provoked him by hitting him. He then had to escape to safety but during his escape he framed his fellow fireman to offset his plan. Even though all these events took place within a very short period of time, they were unavoidable.

luannw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

After Montag has killed Beatty and is on the run, he goes to Faber's house.  Once there, he wonders aloud, how in a week's time he has killed a man once his friend, he's lost his wife, his house has been burned, he's lost his job, and he's planted a book at the home of a former fellow fireman in order to frame him.  Faber tells him that all of this was "coming for a long time." Montag agrees and says that for a long time, he'd felt that things were wrong, even though he went about his usual business and his usual life. He says, "It saved itself up to happen. I could feel it for a long time, I was saving something up. .... It's a wonder it didn't show on me, like fat."  The seed of thought about the errors of this society had been in Montag, but it took Clarisse to nurture that seed with her questions, and get it to grow.  She gets Montag to question his life and their society; to look at it with fresh eyes and see its flaws.