What two observations does Clarisse make about Montags conversational mannerisms?

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luannw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In their first conversation, as the two of them are walking from the subway station toward their homes, Clarisse talks quite a bit to Montag.  She finally remarks about his responses to her many comments by saying, "You laugh when I haven't been funny and you answer right off."  The two conversational elements she names: laughing at her comments and questions that aren't meant to be funny and responding before thinking are correct observations.  Montag laughs at her comments and questions such as, "Do you ever read any of books that you burn?" because such questions make him nervous.  Montag has books hidden at his home that he has not read but they are hidden with the idea that some day he will read them.  He knows he isn't supposed to do such things and the secret guilt makes him nervously laugh.  When Clarisse asks if it was true that at one time, firemen put out fires rather than started them and Montag immediately responds with an answer that sounds rehearsed.  He says, "No. Houses have always been fireproof. Take my word for it."  His quickness to answer with such a pat response indicates that he doesn't believe his answer himself. He gives that response because it is rehearsed and it is safe. It is the response he is supposed to give.

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Fahrenheit 451

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