What is the role of Clarisse in the novel Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, is she important

Expert Answers
rdawnp eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Clarisse is an extremely important character in the novel! Clarisse represents everything Montag wishes to become. She is the one who shows him the beauty of literature and the importance of maintaining a private life full of thought-provoking texts (and thought, in general!).

 In many ways, Clarisse is a foil for Mildred. Mildred is empty and when Montag comes home each night to find his wife void of thought, he is astounded to eventually realize that people like Mildred dominate his world -- and that isn't necessarily a good thing.

Clarisse seems to be such a simple character, taking walks and asking questions. But, it's her simplicity and expression of individual thought that eventually lead Montag to question his own ideology regarding life and what it should mean to truly live. Even after Clarisse "disappears," her influence on Montag's life continues.

sophiasu52 | Student

Clarisse is a seventeen year old young woman who walks with Montag on his trips home from work. She is unusual sort of person in the bookless society: outgoing, naturally cheerful, and unusually intuitive. She is unpopular among her peers and disliked by teachers for asking "why" instead of "how" and focusing on nature rather than on technology. She often skips school because she thinks it is a pointless routine, a repetition. She shows Montag that he is not in love with his wife, Mildred, whom Montag has been married to for ten years. This embarrassed Montag and he tries to deny it, but inside, he knows it is true. Only a short time after meeting Montag she disappears without any explanation, although Mildred and Captain Beatty claim she was killed in a car accident.

 Clarisse represents innocence. In a society based upon blind acceptance of government policy, constant search for raw, immediate gratification, she likes "to smell things and look at things, and sometimes stay up all night, walking, and watching the sunrise". Clarisse does not accept the values set forth for her by society, and rarely takes part in activities, such as jet car racing, which appeal to the need for constant unthinking stimulation and are most preferred by the majority. Clarisse is an individual who is in touch with her own soul, and she is able to see the world around her and honestly evaluate its worth.

Read the study guide:
Fahrenheit 451

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question