Conflicts In Fahrenheit 451

What types of conflict are there in Fahrenheit 451?


man vs. man, beast, nature, society, technology, or self

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schulzie eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Fahrenheit 451 is filled  with conflict.

Man vs. man: It seems that Captain Beatty is out to get Montag.  He knows he has been taking books, and he seems to be setting him up for the day that he burns his house.  When that day comes, Montag takes the flame gun and aims it at Beatty.  Beatty challenges him to "pull the trigger" and Montag does.  It is then man vs. man when they hunt for him.  He must escape capture.  The Hound is his basic opponent, but the helicopters are looking for him too.

Man vs. society: Montag cannot accept what society is telling him about books.  They have successfully stopped all thinking and turned people into pleasure seeking beings.  Faber tells him that the government was not responsible for the lack of books.  He says that the public itself stopped reading of its own accord. Beatty tells him that "Who knows who might be the target of a well-read man?  Me? I won't stomach them for a minute." pg 58. 

Man vs. technology (beast). Depending on how you look at things, this conflict could be either one.  The Hound is a piece of technology.  It is programmed to so many amino acids and butterfat and alkaline in a body.  This is what allows the Hound to seek out those who are hiding books.  The Hound tracks him throughout the novel.  It is sniffing below the door right after Beatty leaves, it semi-attacks him at the firehouse -- enough for Montag to complain about it, and it leaps at him when he kills Beatty.  Montag kills the Hound by setting it on fire.  However, they bring another Hound from another district to hunt him.  He must change his scent as much as he can to escape it.

Man vs. self:  This is probably the strongest conflict.  Montag realizes that

"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.

   He also realizes that they have everything then need to be happy, but they aren't happy.  "Something's missing" pg 82.  He realizes that his life has no meaning, and he is in search of that meaning.

Man vs. nature: This is a weak conflict. When he is escaping in Part III, he must change his scent, so that the Hound doesn't find him.  Your  scent is part of who you are.  He also must flow down the river and let nature take him to a new spot. He must survive out in nature.

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Fahrenheit 451

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