What are some examples of self awareness in Fahrenheit 451?

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schulzie eNotes educator| Certified Educator

1. When Montag first meets Clarisse, he is a little uncomfortable around her.  She speaks her mind, bluntly at times, and she makes him aware of things he hadn't thought about in a long time. She made him think about things that are new thoughts for him.

"How long had they walked together?  Three minutes?  Five?  Yet how large that time seemed now.  How immense a figure she was on the stage before him; what a shadow she threw on the wall with her slender body. (pg 11)

2. When Mildred takes an overdose of her sleeping pills, the EMT's who respond to the call tell Montag,

"We get these cases nine or ten a night.  got so many starting a few years ago, we had the special machines built....You don't need an M.D., case like this; all you need is two handymen, clean up the problem in a half an hour." (pg 15)

He hears noises coming from Clarisse's house, and he ventures over there, sitting outside to listen to their conversation.  When he goes to bed that night, he is disturbed with this thought.

"I don't know anything anymore." (pg 18)

3. He talks with Mildred later and realizes he really doesn't know her. She has changed so much and is so attuned to her technology that he doesn't know her anymore. 

"And he remembered thinking then that if she died, he was certain he wouldn't cry.  For it would be the dying of an unknown..."(pg 44)

But what has happened to him?  He reflects upon himself.

"How did you get so empty? he wondered.  Who takes it out of you? .....What a shame! You're not in love with anyone! And why not?" (pg 44)

4. Montag sees a woman take a match and burn herself with her books.  When he tells the story to Mildred, she scoffs at him and says "She's nothing to me" (pg 51)

Montag cannot let it go.  It really left an impression on him.  He says,

"There must be something in books, things we can't imagine to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there.  You don't stay for nothing." (pg 51)

5. Montag goes to visit Faber.  Faber asks the reason for the visit.

"Nobody listens any more. I can't talk to the walls because they're yelling at me. I can't talk to my wife; she listens to the walls.  I just want someone to hear what I have to say.  And maybe if I talk long enough it'll make sense.  And I want you to teach me to understand what I read." (pg 89)

6. The fire dept. takes Montag to his own home.  It was to be burned, and Montag arrested.  After Montag kills Beatty, he gathers up four books and runs from the scene.  Suddenly he falls on the ground.

"Something inside had jerked him to a halt and flopped him down.  He lay were he had fallen and sobbed, his legs folded, his face pressed blindly to the gravel.

Beatty wanted to die." (pg 122)

7. Escaping, Montag jumps into the river and finds the water very comforting.  However, when he hits land, he finds the land very frightening, an unknown of vast miles.

"He looked in at the great black creature without eyes or light, without shape with only a size that went a thousand miles, without wanting to stop, with its grass hills and forests that were waiting for him. (pg 141)

But as he got to know the land he realized,

"There was more than enough here to fill him.  There would always be more than enough." (pg 144)

8. He found a railroad track and says,

"...he was surprised to learn how certain he suddenly was of a single fact he could not prove.

Once, long ago, Clarisse had walked here where he was walking now. " (pg 145)