What two observations does Clarisse make about Montag's manner of responding during their conversation in Fahrenheit 451?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Two things that Clarisse notices about Montag's manner are--

  1. He never seems to think about a question's meaning before he answers
  2. He laughs inappropriately.

It is in the exposition of Bradbury's novel that Clarisse McClellan, a seventeen-year-old girl who describes herself as "crazy," encounters fireman Guy Montag as he walks toward the corner after stepping off the escalator. She is a very pensive girl who likes to come out at night and watch her shoes as they stir the fallen leaves and see what new thing she can discover. She also delights in the smell of things as she studies them, so sometimes she just sticks out her tongue and catches raindrops upon it.  

1. So contemplative is she that Clarisse is rather taken aback by the offhand answers that Montag gives her when she asks him a question. In fact, she is bothered that he does not think before he responds. She remarks, "You never stop to think what I've asked you." For instance, when she asks Montag if he has ever read any of the many books he burns, he laughs and glibly replies only "That's against the law."
2. Clarisse finds some of Montag's behaviors odd, also. She remarks to him, "You laugh when I haven't been funny...." When, for instance, she tells Montag that she has heard that firemen used to put out fires that burned by accident, Montag laughs, and Clarisse asks, "Why are you laughing?" and all Montag can reply is, "I don't know." Then, he begins laughing again. 

 

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Fahrenheit 451

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