Who is Montag’s mentor in part 1 of Fahrenheit 451, and why?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

There are several ways to approach the subject of mentoring in the first part of the novel. In this section, Guy Montag is shown as having entered a period of questioning and self-doubt about his actions—and even more profoundly, his identity—as a fireman. All his adult life, Montag has been a fireman and carried out his duties unquestioningly. He believes that his work is necessary and important, and he respects his coworkers and supervisor as well as respecting, even revering, the job. One could argue that Captain Beatty continues to be Montag’s mentor.

The nagging doubts that help steer Montag along his rebellious path, however, are fueled by his interactions with a teenage girl in his neighborhood. Although the actual conversations they share are brief, Clarisse’s words and attitude make a very strong impression on Montag. She is the only person he has met who thinks outside the box. She challenges his closed worldview by mentioning that firemen formerly put out fires and by asking him if he is happy. Because she has such a strong influence on his later decisions, we could say that Clarisse is his mentor. Furthermore, we learn that Montag has already met Professor Faber, as he occasionally thinks of the old man on the park bench, but in the first section he is referred to only in passing.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team