After Montag meets his intuitive teenage neighbor, Clarrise McClellan, he begins second-guessing his occupation as a fireman and starts to analyze his meaningless life. On a routine fire call, Montag witnesses a woman commit suicide with her books and refuses to go into work the next day. Montag becomes completely jaded with his occupation and regrets becoming a fireman. When Mildred mentions that he should have thought about it before signing up to be a fireman, Montag says,
"Thought!...Was I given a choice? My grandfather and father were firemen. In my sleep, I ran after them" (Bradbury, 25).
Montag's response is significant and indicates that he never had a choice regarding his future occupation and simply conformed to his family's expectations by following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. Montag comes from a long line of firemen, who supported the destructive institution and loyally served the authoritative government. As a child and adolescent, Montag anxiously awaited the opportunity to one day wear a fireman uniform and never thought about becoming anything else. Essentially, Montag was inspired by his father and grandfather to become a fireman. Despite his enthusiasm as an adolescent, Montag is beginning to experience a dramatic transformation and question his entire existence.