In Fahrenheit 451, what are examples of Montag's conflicts?

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Man vs. Man: Montag struggles against his nemesis, Captain Beatty, who is the fire chief throughout the novel. Captain Beatty represents the authoritarian government, which censors literature by burning novels and the homes of dissidents. Captain Beatty intellectually challenges Montag by attempting to convince him that literature is useless and should be destroyed. In Part Two, Captain Beatty attempts to arrest Montag after making him burn his home. Montag ends up killing Captain Beatty and becoming an enemy of the state.

Man vs. Society: Montag struggles to live a fulfilling life and pursue his intellectual endeavors in Bradbury's dystopian society. This society is driven by perverted technology, which creates shallow, ignorant citizens. Violence is encouraged, education is suppressed and literature is censored. Therefore, Montag must flee society in order to engage in his intellectual pursuits.

Man vs. Self: Montag struggles with his guilt, fear, and ignorance throughout the novel. After realizing that he is no longer happy, Montag struggles to decide if he should quit his job as a fireman, which will completely change his life's trajectory. Montag also struggles to comprehend the texts he attempts to read and feels guilty for burning novels his entire life.

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Montag has both external and internal conflicts. His most important conflict is between himself and the government -- Man versus Society. He wants to develop his individuality through reading and learning, while society wants him to be informed and controlled through television. This struggle is initially internal, but becomes external when Beatty confronts him and calls him out on his crimes. Another conflict comes between Montag and his wife, Mildred, who is superficially happy but may have a deep, even suicidal misery hidden underneath:

"You took all the pills in your bottle last night."

"Oh, I wouldn't do that," she said, surprised.

"The bottle was empty."

"I wouldn't do a thing like that. Why would I do a thing like that?" she asked.

"Maybe you took two pills and forgot and took two more, and forgot again and took two more, and were so dopy you kept right on..."
(Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451, Google Books)

When Montag reveals his books to Mildred, she worries about their social standing; when they read together, she doesn't appreciate the books and their ideas. Instead, because she doesn't have the intellectual basis to understand satire, or philosophy, she falls back on television to comfort her. Montag's developing mind clashes with her atrophied mind, and he finds himself unable to relate to her anymore. This conflict also changes from internal to external: earlier, when Montag questions her television shows, he is internally conflicted; later, when he reads to her guests, he is expressing his dissatisfaction externally.

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What is Montag's desire or motivation in Fahrenheit 451?

Guy Montag in Fahrenheit 451 is a complex character who has several desires and motivations; these also change throughout the course of the novel. In fact, the changes he undergoes form an important part of the plot. Overall, he desires a more meaningful life for himself within a just, intellectually-curious, and compassionate society.

Initially, Montag experiences a general malaise: he knows something is wrong with his society, but he cannot put his finger on it. He is a fireman in part because he his motivated by a desire to serve, but his experiences in this occupation have played a role in undermining his confidence in the utility of the work. He becomes motivated by a desire to find a deeper meaning than the constant barrage of superficial entertainment provides.

Montag feels affection for Mildred, his wife, and he is motivated by a desire to help her—especially when she overdoses. Here as well, her refusal to face reality brings a greater dissatisfaction, and he realizes he must take more drastic actions. This desire is symbolized in his reading "Dover Beach" to her friends. His conversations with Clarisse and his witnessing the elderly woman kill herself (along with her books' destruction) strongly influence his decision to rebel.

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What is Montag's desire or motivation in Fahrenheit 451?

Montag is the main character of Fahrenheit 451. In the beginning of the book, he is one of the firemen, and as we can find within the book's opening passage, he has not yet had his eyes opened to the value of the things he is destroying. His mindset starts to change when he encounters Clarisse, who defies the expectations of the society they belong to. It is this encounter that first opens his eyes to the realization that there is something hollow and unfulfilling within his life. This realization is then crystallized when, in the book burning raid, he watches a woman burn alive.

Throughout Fahrenheit 451, Montag is driven by a discontentment with the emptiness of the society in which he lives. This culture is driven solely by instant gratification, and Montag seeks something deeper and more meaningful, which he eventually finds in books. In the end of Fahrenheit 451, he joins a fellowship dedicated to the preservation of literature and dedicated to the idea that books can be used to rebuild civilization.

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What is Montag's desire or motivation in Fahrenheit 451?

After meeting Clarisse, Montag realizes that he is living a meaningless life and wishes to make a dramatic change to his everyday routine. Montag also witnesses a woman commit suicide with her books and wonders if novels hold the key to answers that he desperately desires. Montag ends up quitting his job as a fireman to pursue knowledge and comprehend information in books. Essentially, Montag is motivated to find meaning in life and pursue knowledge.

On Montag's journey to becoming literate and finding fulfillment in life, he has enlightening conversations with Faber and even kills Captain Beatty before fleeing the dystopian city. In the wilderness, Montag joins a group of traveling intellectuals, who teach him a technique to preserve and remember novels. By the end of the novel, Montag is motivated to help rebuild and restore a literate society by sharing the knowledge that he has preserved.

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What is Montag's desire or motivation in Fahrenheit 451?

Montag’s desire is to attain the knowledge and wisdom contained in books. He also wants to contribute to the preservation of such knowledge for the sake of future generations in the face of the looming and destructive atomic war.

Prior to this desire, Montag was a firefighter, whose sole purpose was to destroy books. He lived an empty and unhappy life in the company of his brainwashed wife, Mildred. It is not until his encounter with Clarisse that he begins to question the real purpose of his profession. He has an epiphany after the incident at the old woman’s house. The old woman opts to burn herself with her books rather than give them up to the government. Montag then realizes that the contents of the books must be so significant that one would be willing to die for them. He steals his first book.

It is his desire to comprehend the information he reads that causes him to seek assistance from professor Faber.

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In Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, what is Guy Montag's biggest dilemma?

In Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, Guy Montag's greatest dilemma is continuing to exist in his government-controlled society after realizing that his life has no purpose—and that his job supports every lie society has taught him.

A third-generation fireman, Montag has been burning houses and books for ten years without ever questioning why he does so. Clarisse McClellan, a young neighbor, begins sharing her observations of the world, and asking Montag questions about his life—things that change the way he perceives himself and the world in which he lives.

One evening the firemen answer a call for 11 No. Elm Street. There they find a woman in her home, surrounded by books. As the firemen begin to soak the volumes with kerosene, Montag tries to get the woman to leave so that she will not be harmed when the burning begins.

"You can't ever have my books," she said. [...] The men glanced back at Montag, who stood near the woman.

"You're not leaving her here?" he protested.

"She won't come."

"Force her, then!" [...]

Montag placed his hand on the woman's elbow. "You can come with me."

"No," she said. "Thank you, anyway..."

"Please," said Montag... "Here." Montag pulled at the woman.

The woman replied quietly, "I want to stay here."

Beatty calls out numbers in warning, intent to start the blaze; the woman tells him to cease his countdown.

She opened the fingers of one hand slightly and in the palm of the hand was a single slender object.

An ordinary kitchen match.

In that moment, the men rush out of the house; and the woman ignites the match and dies as her house and books burn around her.

This is, to my mind, the pivotal moment of the book—the one that changes Montag forever. He has already had questions racing around in his mind about his job, his life and society (because of discussions with Clarisse), but this experience shakes him to his core.

When Montag finally returns home, he feels as if he has been poisoned, and it is spreading through his entire body. The source of the danger is the book that he stole from the woman's house when no one was watching. The "poison" is actually his awakening to knowledge, which has been kept from him and other members of society. He is now aware that something about books has been hidden from him: for why else would a woman choose to die rather than leave her books? But with this awakening, Montag is, in that moment, uncertain of everything. 

[Montag] lay far across the room from [Mildred], on a winter island separated by an empty sea... Montag said nothing...he felt her move in the room and come to his bed and stand over him and put her hand down to feel his cheek. He knew that when she pulled her hand away from his face it was wet.

This experience so changes Montag that he does not want to return to work.

When Beatty, his boss, comes to visit, it seems the other man is suspicious of Montag. Guy now must be constantly on guard not to give himself away by something he says, most especially at work. At the same time however, Montag becomes reckless in his speech and behavior around Mildred's friends. At one point, he forces Mildred to listen as he reads to her, although she wants no part of it. Perhaps worst of all, as Montag begins to view the world through his altered perceptions, he is alone with no one to listen to him or guide him. Clarisse is gone, and Mildred remains unchanged.

Ultimately, Montag seeks out Faber (the former college professor) who lets Montag know where the power of books really resides. This will give Montag new direction and the resolve to change the path he has been on—he is newly committed to rebuilding society and protecting the knowledge held within books.


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What obstacles does Montag face in Fahrenheit 451?

Montag faces both internal and external obstacles in Fahrenheit 451. His internal ones are those stemming from coming to terms with his own background and upbringing. As a fireman, Montag has been taught that burning books is a respectable, even noble, profession. However, his meeting with Clarisse leads Montag to cast doubts on his beliefs. He begins to see that there is more to the world than just what the state wants him to experience. Montag must overcome the realization that his former life was defined by a feeling of emptiness. Over the course of the book, Montag has to come to terms with the fact that he has been living unhappily in an oppressive society. He has to decide what risks are worth taking now that his eyes have been opened to reality.

External conflicts arise as Montag is doing this introspective work. Things go wrong when Beatty discovers Montag's secret, and Montag is forced to murder him. Once the murder is reported, Montag must make a daring escape, barely getting away from the mechanical hounds as he flees the doomed city that has been his home all his life.

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