Discussion Topic

An analysis of the plot, structure, key elements, symbolism, motifs, setting, themes, and dystopian characteristics in Fahrenheit 451

Summary:

Fahrenheit 451 follows protagonist Guy Montag in a dystopian future where books are banned, and "firemen" burn any that are found. The plot explores Montag's transformation from a book-burning fireman to a rebel seeking knowledge. Key elements include censorship, the power of knowledge, and conformity. Symbolism and motifs, such as fire and the Phoenix, highlight rebirth and destruction. The themes focus on the dangers of state control and the loss of individual thought.

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What is the symbolism in Fahrenheit 451?

The books symbolize imagination.  When Montag and the others burn the books, they are doing so to protect society from the evils of imagination.  Television symbolizes social conformity, because people watch television instead of interacting and reading and using their imagination.

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What is the symbolism in Fahrenheit 451?

I could never make myself care very much about the writings of Ray Bradbury. He seems like a writer with a good imagination but not a strong intellect. I cannot take him very seriously, even when he chooses a serious topic, as he often does. He was highly successful and made a lot of money. I think his commercialism interfered with his creativity. In Fahrenheit 451 he writes about a society in which the government is trying to stamp out reading and independent thinking. This would be serious if it could be taken seriously, but it is hard to believe that Bradbury himself ever foresaw this as a real possibility and a real threat. This sort of thing was done in the Dark Ages. It was something that happened in the past, not something that is going to happen in the future. Even Hitler didn't try to burn all the books. Fahrenheit 451 is more for amusement than for serious consideration. The really good dystopian novels are Brave New World and 1984. I don't consider Bradbury's "symbols" important because I don't consider the novel anything more than a "knockoff" of really good books like those of Huxley and Orwell.

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What is the symbolism in Fahrenheit 451?

To identify symbols in a work, look for something concrete, something visual, that makes an important point in the book. Symbols are not always obvious, and sometimes require a good bit of thought.

For a detailed and more specific answer, you should post this question in the Q&A section.

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What is the plot of Fahrenheit 451?

I would say the exposition is, of course, the beginning of the novel: we begin to get a pretty good idea of the setting and some of the main characters in the story, such as Montag and Clarisse.

The rising conflicts in the story could be when Montag begins to struggle both with other antagonistic characters, such as Beatty and his wife, and with himself-he begins to see things in his environment differently, thanks to Clarisse.  Also, the Mechanical Hound senses a change in him as well, which adds to the conflict.

There could be different climactic events, but I would think the most pivotal point in the story would be when he torches Beatty and runs away.

Falling action, then, would be the trip to Faber's house, the chase leading to the river, etc.  You might even include meeting Granger in this.

Finally, the resolution would be the destruction of his city and their plan to rebuild it.

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What is the structure, main plot, subplot, and chronology of events in Fahrenheit 451?

Bradbury wrote "Fahrenheit 451 into three parts which "paralled the stages of Montag's" intellectual journey. In the first part, "The hearth and the Salamander", Montag enjoys his work as a fireman and has just begun to question what he is doing. The brief encounter with Clarisse helps to set up his quest when she asks him if he is happy.
In Part II, " The Sieve and the Sand", Montag has just begun to deviate from society's rules by reading books that he is supposed to burn. He establishes a relationship with Faber and begin to be pulled by two forces, the voice of Faber and the voice of society. By the end of this section, Montag is standing in front of his own house, having been ordered to burn it because his anti-social behavior has been discovered.
In Part III, "Burning Bright", Montag finally decides he must disobey society's rules. He turns the fire hose on Beatty and is relentlessly chased by the Mechanical Hound. After escaping from society, he meets Granger and the "book covers", only to shortly see his former society destroyed bringing a chance to rebuild a thinking society.

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What is one motif in Fahrenheit 451?

Ray Bradbury’s 1953 sci fi novel, Fahrenheit 451, is chock full of highly prophetic themes. To help his readers really feel and contemplate his messages, Bradbury makes vivid use of motifs throughout the novel, which are images, objects, ideas, or phrases that occur regularly throughout the story to support and build on the themes. Perhaps the most pervasive motif throughout the novel is Bradbury’s recurring use of nature imagery to highlight the theme of artificiality.

Physically, the characters live in a completely urban, artificial world with cement under their feet, T.V. walls all around them, and theme parks filled with violent activities instead of nature. Emotionally, the effect on individuals is cold and isolating from nature and from each other. To compensate, they have named many of the objects in their lives after things in nature, creating an artificial sense of the natural world. For example, although Montag’s job is to destroy the homes of people who own books, he imagines that the fire looks like a “swarm of fireflies.” Also, the tiny radios that citizens constantly wear in their ears are called "Seashells," yet rather than being at the ocean communing with nature or sharing time with family, they are cutting themselves off from real human interaction to listen to their music and programs. Mildred doesn’t even take hers out at night, and Montag has a hard time getting her to talk to him because she is always tuned in to her Seashells. Using nature terminology to describe unnatural objects and behaviors serves to heighten our understanding of the artificial way of life Bradbury is warning us about.

More often, this nature motif is portrayed through animal imagery, which surfaces regularly throughout the novel. The story of a beautiful, mythological bird, the phoenix, appears several times, suggesting that humans must recreate ourselves time and again after self-destruction. Bradbury describes the burning pages of the books as “pigeon-winged,” portraying how this society is killing all that is natural. They call their cars “beetles” and their firetrucks “salamanders,” furthering the illusion of nature around them. Even the scarier things in life are given natural names. Montag refers to the stomach pump which is used to save his wife from her drug overdose as a “black cobra” with an eye that can peer down into Mildred’s emptiness. Even the death machine that hunts down and eliminates citizens who harbor books is given an animal name—“the Mechanical Hound.” It sleeps and moves and even growls like a dog. But we never hear of any actual pets in the novel (other than the poor critters the firemen set loose for their own entertainment as they watch the Hound practice killing). Although the characters use animal and nature words in their everyday language, there is no resulting warmth or connection to their world or each other, because they still live in an artificial manner.

Aside from a brief meeting with a girl who values nature, it is not until Montag escapes the empty urban existence, leaving the Hound and the helicopters and the cameras behind, that true nature imagery enters the novel. The cocooning river floats him to the safety of the countryside, while the stars overhead remind him of the power and importance of the natural world. “The river was very real; it held him comfortably and gave him the time at last, the leisure, to consider” what really matters in life.

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What are the major plot events in Fahrenheit 451, including the inciting incident and rising action?

EXPOSITION: Readers meet Montag, a fireman whose purpose is to create fire that burns books; Mildred, his wife who prefers her seashells and 'the family' (TV) to real people; Clarisse, a curious girl who remains counter-cultural in beliefs and purpose; and Captain Beatty, Montag's boss who helps perpetuate the dystopian idea that thought is destructive and people are better suited when they are ignorant. This society seems backwards to modern society... or is it?

INCITING INCIDENT: Montag watches a woman commit suicide by going into a house filled with kerosene. She lights the match herself because books are so valuable to her.

RISING ACTION: Montag explores free thought. This occurs as he gets sick and wants to quit, as he tries to get Mildred to buy in to the cause, and as he begins pursuing Professor Faber. Throughout this time, the Mechanical Hound begins to sense something changing in Montag's DNA. Faber and Montag create plans. Mildred leaves Montag. The Mechanical Hound discovers Montag at a fire when Beatty is killed by Montag. Montag seeks Faber again. A chase begins.

CLIMAX: During the chase, Montag has moments of feeling the Hound will overtake him. Eventually, Montag watching other peoples' televisions realizes that the Mechanical Hound is now after someone else. This comes as a result of Montag using the river and alcohol to mask his chemical scent.

FALLING ACTION: Montag follows the directions given to him by Faber and finds a band of men devoted to the same cause: preserving the truth of books.

RESOLUTION: Although the society isn't changed, Montag's circumstances are and he finds new, but meaningful purpose.

For a more detailed set of events, you will need to reference the summaries enotes provides. I have linked some below.

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What are significant details of Fahrenheit 451's futuristic setting?

The setting of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 is an American dystopian future, and some characteristics of it include bans on books and an emphasis on technology that dulls citizens and encourages them to not think.

Books and reading are illegal. The government claims that knowledge and books are the roots of disagreements, debates, friction, and differing levels of intelligence. In an attempt to equalize society and maintain complete control over it, possession of books and reading are banned.

Firefighters, who once put out fires, are now tasked by the government with starting fires. They are instructed to burn any books they find, including personal collections in people’s homes, so the government can control what information society has access to. The title of the book signifies the temperature at which paper burns.

The government overstimulates society with technology to prevent citizens from thinking and challenging the system. It controls what people see and hear through televisions and other devices such as "seashells," which are buds one wears in the ears. These devices broadcast news, propaganda, and music to listeners in an attempt to control them and blind them to reality.

In this society, a mechanical hound tracks and kills those who escape from authorities.

The goal of this dystopian system is to create a society of nonthreatening, easily-controlled, obedient people who have no opinions, cannot think for themselves, and do not cause any trouble or challenge the government.

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What is the rising action in Fahrenheit 451?

The rising action begins immediately after Montag meets Clarisse and she asks him if he is happy. Clarisse's observation makes Montag question his life and he begins to contemplate how to change the trajectory of his meaningless existence. Montag begins to think that books may have answers inside of them that might help remedy his dilemma after he witnesses a woman commit suicide alongside her library. Montag then calls in sick and attempts to read some of the books that he stole from dissidents' homes but cannot comprehend any of the information he reads. Montag then travels to Faber's home and asks him for help with comprehending texts after explaining his dire situation. Montag and Faber form a friendship and Faber gives Montag the green bullet to communicate. Montag then returns home, where he ends up reading the poem "Dover Beach" aloud to Mildred and her friends. Shortly after upsetting the women in his home, Montag goes to work and receives a call. Captain Beatty then takes Montag to his home, gives him a flamethrower, and tells him to burn his home. The climax of the novel takes place when Beatty attempts to arrest Montag and he decides to murder the captain using his flamethrower. 

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What is the rising action in Fahrenheit 451?

The rising action in the book starts when Montag meets Clarisse for the first time, and it continues at a steady pace until the moment when Montag reads poetry to the visiting women. Until the final climax, the action between the poetry scene and Montag's confrontation with Beatty is held at a roughly level plane; Montag knows that he is going to be discovered but he can't do anything to avoid it. Essentially, Montag's personal journey of self-discovery provides most of the rising action, and as he comes to terms with his own individualism, the action levels and starts to fall.

Of course I'm happy. What does she think? I'm not? he asked the quiet rooms. He stood looking up at the ventilator grille in the hall and suddenly remembered that something lay hidden behind the grille, something that seemed to peer down at him now. He moved his eyes quickly away.
(Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451, Google Books)

This moment, which foreshadows Montag's revelation that he has been stealing books for years, is the start of the rising action. His unease in the society, which has informed and shaped his opinions all his life, allows the reader to feel equally uncomfortable, and each revelation adds to this discomfort. The rising action of Montag's mind is echoed by the events in his life: the old woman who will not leave her books, his sadness at Clarisse's death, his sudden understanding of what the firemen actually do. Each moment is part of Montag's personal journey, and so the rising action follows his individual development.

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Where do you see the rising action, climax and the falling action in Fahrenheit 451?

The rising action begins at the opening of the story when Montag begins to question the validity of his job of burning books. The first major event in the plot is his meeting with Clarisse McClellan who asks if Montag is happy. The rising action continues as Montag watches an old woman burn herself up with her books. He begins to read some of the books he has supposed to have burned and thus begins his intellectual awakening. The climax of the novel occurs when Montag decides to escape his society and head for the countryside. Montag is chased by the mechanical hound and eventually jumps into the river to throw off the scent of the hound. After that, Montag is safe and the falling action begins when he runs into the "book covers', people who have memorized books to pass on their contents to future generations. As a last bit of falling action, Montag hears his society being destroyed in a huge atomic blast and knows he does not have long to wait in order to join the "book covers" in building a new society.

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What are the key elements of the plot in Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury?

Let’s see if I can help guide you through this. The exposition of the novel is essentially the beginning when we find out who the characters are and what they are all about. We also learn the where and when of the setting. Give a brief description of what you learn about the characters and the setting in the first couple of chapters.

The rising action includes the series of conflicts Montag faces throughout the story. Initially, Montag has a lot of internal conflicts and later he experiences conflicts that are more external.

The climax is the absolute, highest moment of excitement/suspense in the story. Ask yourself what the greatest moment of suspense is for Montag. Think about the final conflicts between Montag, the Mechanical Hound, and his city. After this, conflict for Montag begins to decline.

Falling action is basically the few events that occur after the climax. Think about Montag’s retreat to the country.

In the resolution, we learn how the story wraps up. What is Montag intending to do after as the book ends? Think about the bang of vagabonds Montag meets and their mission. What do we have hope for at the end of F. 451. There is hope to start again.

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What is the climax in Fahrenheit 451?

The climax of Fahrenheit 451 is when Beatty tries to burn Montag’s house down and he turns a flamethrower on him.

Montag is a fireman.  In his world, that means that he sets fires instead of putting them out.  Houses are fireproof, and Montag and the other firemen burn people’s books.  Books are against the law, and so is sitting and talking, and even doing anything slowly.  People go fast and watch TV.

When the old woman decides to die along with her books, Beatty scoffs at her.

"Where's your common sense? None of those books agree with each other. You've been locked up here for years with a regular damned Tower of Babel. Snap out of it! The people in those books never lived. Come on now! " (part 1)

Yet Montag realizes he was wrong.  When Montag finds out what books really are, he is fascinated.  His wife says they are not real, but to him the television shows are not real.  The books have real emotions.  They are not cold and stale.

Montag gets angry when Beatty turns on him.  Beatty seems to relish the moment.

A problem gets too burdensome, then into the furnace with it. Now, Montag, you're a burden. And fire will lift you off my shoulders, clean, quick, sure; nothing to rot later. Antibiotic, aesthetic, practical." (part 2)

He tells Montag he needs to burn his own house down, with a flamethrower, because it was his mess and he needs to clean it up.  Montag is so angry that he turns the flamethrower on Beatty, killing him.

The climax of a book is its turning point.  The flamethrower incident is the climax of this book because it is when Montag completely turns his back on his old ways and goes on the run.

From this point on, Montag is a different person and the book has a different problem.  He has to deal with the consequences of his actions, and find a way to save the books.

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What is the climax in Fahrenheit 451?

One of the major climaxes in the novel occurs in Part Three. Mildred is gone and Beatty is forcing Montag to burn his own house. With the absence of his wife, destruction of his house, and the seeming end to his days as a fireman, Montag's old life is effectively gone as well. Instead of handing the flame-thrower over to Beatty and bowing to authority, he turns it on Beatty and kills him, thus destroying his most intimate authority figure. Montag then turns on the firemen, making his transformation complete: from burning books to burning the burners (firemen). 

The second climax occurs when Montag reaches the river and is then out of reach of the authorities and out of range of the new and improved Mechanical Hound. Floating peacefully down the river, the climax complete, he literally leaves the story en route to a new one: 

He felt as if he had left a stage behind and many actors. He felt as if he had left the great seance and all the murmuring ghosts. He was moving from an unreality that was frightening into a reality that was unreal because it was new. 

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What is the setting in Fahrenheit 451?

The setting provides the location for the action of the novel it can also provide historical and cultural context for the characters.

The setting is in the future, as are most Science Fiction novels, the setting sets the backdrop for the action, the world that Montag inhabits has evolved beyond the need for education and learning.  In an effort to achieve sameness, to sanitize the population of any possible conflicts among the people, all the people are the same.

The setting in this book brings us into the world as it is, the world that Montag lives in with his wife, Mildred, the Fire house, his job as a fireman, the book burnings.  It also illustrates a world that is mostly gone in the presence of the character Clarisse McClellan, whose family clings to the old ways, so this gives the reader perspective on the history of the society in which Montag lives.

The setting can also symbolize the emotional state in which the characters live, in this novel, Mildred's emotional state is illustrated by her need for her fourth wall, the giant television screens, of which she has three in order to view her "family" as she calls them.  These people on the television show are more important to her than her husband.

Then there is the setting which includes Faber and the other members of the resistance movement, they are an example of the possible future, where books might become valuable again.

Faber and the book people are a small group who might be the only survivors after the war, that is about to erupt, takes place, so they are part of the future.

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What is the setting in Fahrenheit 451?

Bradbury's story is set in the futuristic United States, which is a technologically advanced dystopian society where literature is censored and intellectual pursuits are considered illegal. Bradbury does not give a specific year for the setting in the novel, but the audience recognizes that the events take place in the distant future.

In the story, there are interactive television sets, Mechanical Hounds, and miniature two-way listening devices. In addition to impressive technologically advanced devices, Montag's dystopian nation is engaged in atomic warfare with other nations.

The novel's society is depicted as superficial, destructive, and oppressive. The perverted nature of the dystopian society is also reflected by the fact that firemen start fires instead of putting them out.

With regards to the exact location of the story, Bradbury indicates that the story is set in America by mentioning Chicago and St. Louis. Bradbury also mentions one of America's founding fathers, Ben Franklin, who—according to Captain Beatty—founded the fireman institution.

Overall, the story is set in a dystopian American society which takes place sometime in the distant future.

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What is the setting in Fahrenheit 451?

The setting of Fahrenheit 451 is a future dystopia, a country ruled by a massive government body that oversees and controls all parts of society without oversight. The banning of books has made people turn to television and become less and less interested in individual thought; TV shows are banal and plotless, serving only to serve meaningless emotion. While the people living in the society are superficially happy, they have no ambition or larger purpose, and are almost unaware that their country is on the verge of war with others. People's minds are so scattershot and vague that they do things without realizing, parrot everything they hear, and have almost no individual opinion. At the end, the city is destroyed by bombs, leaving small groups of individuals to try and rebuild.

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What is the setting in Fahrenheit 451?

The setting of the novel “Fahrenheit 451” is a futuristic society in which the things that we take for granted and regard highly in our society are looked down upon and are considered dangerous and illegal. In Montag’s society people are not allowed to read or think for themselves.  The government feels that people will be happy without knowledge; therefore, they keep all knowledge from them.  Most citizens live for their televisions or “parlor walls”, as Montag’s wife, Mildred, does and they value picture books and physical activities only.  In addition, they are taught that everything must be done in a rush and that they should not pay attention to the things that we take for granted like the grass or sunshine.  We find out in the novel that these things do not make the people of this society as happy as one would think because people are overdosing on their “happy pills” on a daily basis and find no value in life.

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What is the setting in Fahrenheit 451?

Unfortunately, the answer to this question is a bit frustrating and vague. The book takes place in "the future." Bradbury wrote the book in the 1950's, and more than one analysis places the book "sometime after 1990." Again that is frustratingly vague. That could be 1995, or it could be 2195, but that's the point. Bradbury doesn't want to nail down a specific date because that might cause the book to be dated and an incorrect prediction. If Bradbury stated that events were happening in 1999, modern day readers would be able to accurately state that Bradbury's predictions were completely wrong. The world of 1999 was nothing like the book. The vague "future" setting works much better because it allows readers that are reading the book 60 years after publication to still place the book in the future. Modern readers might see some current technology matching up to the book (earbud headphones), but enough of the book still hasn't happened that the setting still allows modern audiences to read it as a dire future prediction.

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What is the setting in Fahrenheit 451?

Fahrenheit 451 takes place sometime after the 1990s. The author, Ray Bradbury, leaves clues for the reader to suggest not only when the novel takes place, but also the current state of affairs in his dystopian novel. Bradbury wrote the novel in the 1950s, so he chose a futuristic time in which to place his novel, which back then anything post-1990s must have sounded extremely futuristic; within the story the reader also learns that two atomic wars have taken place since 1990, and that a war is on-going, since some of Mildred's friends' husbands have gone to war. The futuristic, dystopian setting of Fahrenheit 451 portrays a world catering to one's happiness, but rarely achieving it.

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What is the setting in Fahrenheit 451?

Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 is set in the unspecified, dystopian future. The issue of "when" is a debated topic, as there are a few areas in the book where it is left open for interpretation. As for "where"--we know it is set in America, but beyond that there is little information given to provide an exact location.

One of the areas in Fahrenheit 451 that leaves the time frame open for debate comes within the first few pages of the second section. Montag, upset over the jets that fill the sky throughout the day, claims, "We've started and won two atomic wars since 1990!" Depending on the edition you read, that year changes (early editions say 1960, while later editions apparently say 2022). Either way, the story is most likely set at the very end of the twentieth century or the beginning of the twenty-first.

There is, however, one quote from the book that leaves it open for debate even further. When Beatty visits Montag's home to lecture him about the history of the fireman profession, he makes the following remark: "Do you see? Out of the nursery into the college and back to the nursery; there's your intellectual pattern for the past five centuries or more." One interpretation is that Beatty is simply discussing the declining "intellectual pattern" of human beings in general (i.e., not specific to America). Another possibility is that he is referring to the decline within the United States, which could make the story's time frame later than the twentieth or twenty-first century. However, one can make the argument that Beatty--who was clearly well-read--probably knew the overall history of America (at least, since it was 'discovered' by Christopher Columbus in 1492). Add to that a quote he cites from a man burned for heresy in 1555, and his "past five centuries" comment falls more in line with a late twentieth or early twenty-first time frame.

Either way, there are no references in the book that specify exactly when it is set. This open-ended approach adds to the dystopian feel of the story. Bradbury wrote the novel in a time when McCarthyism, book burning, and the rise of television were prominent in American society (though he later stated in an interview that Fahrenheit 451 is a primarily "a story about television destroys interest in reading literature").

As for where the story is set, that too is left ambiguous. We know it is set in America because of the currency (Mrs. Montag says a new wall TV would cost "only two thousand dollars") as well as Beatty's explanation that Clarisse's family used to live in Chicago. However, the lack of specificity gives the novel a more universal approach to governmental censorship and the loss of intellectualism in American society.

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What is the setting in Fahrenheit 451?

Fahrenheit 451 is set in the futuristic world of the 1990s in the United States--at least when Ray Bradbury first published the book in 1953, the 1990s seemed like a very futuristic setting.  The world has already suffered through nuclear wars, and the protagonist Guy Montag lives in a comfortable suburban area of a large city. 

In Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury fills the novel with all sorts of interesting new technology, much of which would seem incredibly familiar to us now, but back then, his ideas were novel and startling:  television walls, seashell radios that fit into people's ears, fast cars, and a continuous stream of television entertainment.  Bradbury uses the dystopian setting of Fahrenheit 451 to challenge the notion of a society that has grown overly dependent on mass media and entertainment.

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What is the setting in Fahrenheit 451?

The novel Fahrenheit 451, written in 1953, takes place in a society that is a dystopia.  A dystopia is a society that believes it is a utopia (perfect) and is doing the right thing, but in reality, is dysfunctional and often takes away peoples' rights. Bradbury wrote this novel about America in the future in reaction to the anti-communist McCarthy hearings of the 1950s.  Often writers, directors, and artists were brought before the McCarthy hearings and accused of being communists.  Bradbury was concerned about the possible censorship that could follow these hearings.  Many people were "black balled" and never regained their artistic status after the accusations.  Bradbury was also concerned about the possibility that books would be burned in reaction to this dark time of fear and paranoia. 

Many of the predictions Bradbury makes in the book have come true.  These include our obsession with being politically correct, as well as technology that keeps us "controlled" and "happy."  

Although no particular site is given, it can be assumed that Bradbury implies that this could be the future for America if we give away our freedoms and rights.

Definition of dystopia from dictionary.reference.com

A society characterized by human misery, as squalor, oppression, disease, and overcrowding.

Further Reading

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What is the setting in Fahrenheit 451?

The place where the novel takes place is only identified as the "city," with no name ever given. It seems to be a place with good weather, and it also seems to be in what was once the United States. Other than that, we get no specifics.

Bradbury, however, moved to Los Angeles with his family at age fourteen, and lived there into adulthood. He recounts that he had a revelation as he was writing Fahrenheit 451 while he was walking one night on the streets of Beverly Hills. He describes seeing a woman strolling with her husband. The woman had a radio plugged into her ear and was so focused on listening to it that she was oblivious to her surroundings and her spouse. Bradbury, working on Fahrenheit 451 at the time, had thought what he was envisioning might occur in forty or fifty years, but realized it was actually happening as he was writing (from Kingsley Amis, New Maps of Hell: A Survey of Science Fiction).

Given that incident, it may be that Bradbury had L.A. in mind as he wrote, but he is careful not to identify the city in the novel with any that now exists. 

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What is the setting in Fahrenheit 451?

In terms of placing the novel in time, the author informs the reader that, in this world, two atomic wars have taken place since 1990. This also helps to account for the dystopian setting which drives so much of the book's plot. Many believe this to indicate that the story takes place sometime in the 21st century, but others believe it may be as far ahead as the 24th century. 

As a previous Educator suggested, this deliberate ambiguity serves a purpose. Not explicitly identifying the year and location of the story lends an additional layer of tension, while allowing the content to resonate more deeply with the reader. This causes the reader to think, "This book could take place in my town, in this very year."

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What is the setting in Fahrenheit 451?

Ray Bradbury wrote this novel in response to several things going on during the 1950's, such as the McCarthy hearings and the aftermath of World War II. Even though Bradbury was writing with specific world events in mind, he seemed to have intentionally made the setting of Fahrenheit 451 ambiguous. He most likely did this so that the book might be applicable to anytime, anywhere. In truth, it is an unnamed future time in an imaginary place, where nightmarish things are taking place. However, there are many aspects of the setting that make the reader feel as if it could be happening right now in the very city in which he lives.

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What is the setting in Fahrenheit 451?

Bradbury is careful not to be too specific here. The time is the 21st century, and the setting is a large American city, but beyond that, we aren't told where or when it is set. This could be, if not Anytown, at least Anycity, USA, and right now.

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What is the setting in Fahrenheit 451?

The setting of the novel is in a large city in the United States in the 24th century.  Although the story takes place far in the future, Bradbury’s many predictions hold true for today.  He predicted the decline of reading and use of books, inventions such as ear buds, and the decline of a society who places fun and enjoyment over knowledge and learning.  Even the size of TV’s was predicted by Bradbury when he wrote Fahrenheit 451 in the early 50’s.  Wall-size TV’s entertain Mildred and the population of this society much like our big screen televisions do today.  More importantly, Bradbury predicts the decay of society due to political correctness, censorship, and war.  In the book, there are two nuclear wars before the book takes place, and as we know, Montag witnesses the bombing of the city at the end of the novel.  Society has declined into a dystopia that gives up freedom and individuality for fast cars, advanced technology, and the thrill of entertainment.  It is interesting that Bradbury looked far into the future but predicted things throughout the novel that we see today. 

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In the book Fahrenheit 451, what is the time and place setting?

Bradbury does not give us a precise time and place setting because he wants us to be able to apply it to any time and any place in the not too distant future.  We know it is not in the current time when the story opens with a description of Montag's job of burning books.  That isn't something we see in our present day world.  Other indications that the story is set into the future is the technology mentioned: the Mechanical Dog, the "silent, air-propelled train", the wall television screens, the fast cars.  When Clarisse talks to Montag and describes the speeds at which people drive and how billboards had to be made extra long to accommodate the high speeds, we also know that this is the future, but not too far into the future because there are still memories of a society similar to our current day.  The place is a large city, except for the end when Montag joins the book people in the remote countryside.  We know it's a city because of the large numbers of people on the trains and on the streets.  Also, an enemy is much more likely to bomb a large city than it is to bomb a small city. 

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What is the central idea of Fahrenheit 451?

In Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury is deeply concerned with the impact of consumerism on culture (as well as its impact on society and the individuals within it). Indeed, it's important to note that this novel's censorship culture did not originate as an act of political will imposed by the government, but rather from the collective will of society itself. That was Beatty's great revelation toward the end of part 1: books were banned because the public did not wish to be challenged anymore. People wanted to live with their material comforts, free of the controversies art and artistic expression can create.

In a way, I would suggest that Fahrenheit 451 was intended to be a warning as to the potential hazards of consumerist and materialist trends. Bradbury feared that impoverishment would result not only in terms of larger culture and society but also for all those who would participate within it. Fahrenheit 451 depicts a world where the vast majority of people are no longer actively engaged in their own existences. Passive consumerism has become their defining trait.

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What is the central idea of Fahrenheit 451?

The central idea of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 is the planned death of intellectualism and individual thought for the purpose of control.

Books are condemned in the narrative's materialistic society that detests the values of love, friendship, and free thought. Reading makes people aware of the ideas that may be necessary to them as individuals, ideas that may bring about nonconformity and distrust of those in authority. Such ideas are dangerous to a totalitarian state. When Montag talks with Faber, the college professor tells Montag that what he is seeking in life exists now only in books: "the only way the average chap will ever see ninety-nine percent of them is in a book" (The Sieve and the Sand, p. 76).

Earlier, when Beatty visits Montag, who has stayed home from work after witnessing a woman die for her love of books, Beatty demonstrates that he is, ironically, quite well read. However, he argues against books, contending that they lead to the creation of dangerous "...examiners, critics, knowers, and imaginative creators; the word 'intellectual,' of course, became the swear word it deserved to be." Beatty concludes,

We must all be alike. Not everyone born free and equal, as the Constitution says, but everyone made equal. Each man the image of every other; then all are happy, for there are no mountains to make them cower, to judge themselves against....A book is a loaded gun in the house next door. Burn it....Breach man's mind.

Because different books present differing ideas, readers must sift through these various ideas and decide what they believe and what they discount as erroneous. This sifting, Beatty contends, causes confusion and conflict. On the other hand, the parlor walls present an environment that mimics reality, and "It [this environment] becomes and is the truth" for people whereas "books can be beaten down with reason" as Faber explains to Montag later. In addition to the conflicting ideas contained in books, there is also the problem of the desire that books instill in a person to act according to the varied information provided in them that the reader ponders afterward. By destroying intellectualism and individual thought, the society in which Montag lives controls its population.

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What is the central idea of Fahrenheit 451?

The central idea, or main theme, of the novel Fahrenheit 451 is censorship. In Bradbury's dystopian society, the authoritarian government censors all works of literature, and it is illegal to own books. Firefighters are employed to burn books and destroy all works of literature which are reported to the authorities. Those who possess books are immediately taken to prison. Bradbury explores the dangers of censoring intellectual thought by illustrating Montag's meaningless existence. Captain Beatty explains how society prefers visual entertainment and condensed information, and disapproves of criticism. Bradbury comments on the importance of preserving history and learning from past mistakes to improve humanity. He also mentions how literature captures life in infinite detail, describes authentic experiences, and allows readers leisure time to escape from their hectic lives. The dystopian society's collapse reveals the dangers of censoring intellectual thought, while Montag's revival illustrates the significance of literature and knowledge in one's life. 

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What is the central idea of Fahrenheit 451?

Fahrenheit 451 is about a man named Montag who is a "fireman" but not in the sense that we know it today. In this future dystopian world, the job of a fireman is to burn books, because reading is illegal, and books are illegal contraband. Anyone found in possession of books is placed under arrest, and their homes are burned just in case there are more books concealed outside.

The story begins when Montag meets his new neighbor, seventeen-year-old Clarisse McLellan. In a society of people who have learned not to ask too many questions, Clarisse is an enigma. She asks Montag if it were true that a fireman's job used to be to put out fires, and this notion is totally new to Montag, who believes that houses have always been fireproof.

Over time, Montag and Clarisse develop something like a father-daughter relationship, except that instead of Montag guiding Clarisse and giving her new things to think about, it is the other way around. Eventually, Montag's curiosity reaches such a high point that he steals a Bible from a burning home.

After growing incredibly disillusioned, Montag investigates the world of books and enters into a plan to start producing books rather than destroying them. After getting himself in trouble with the law, he goes into the woods to find a secret community of readers and academics who have made their home there.

Ultimately, Fahrenheit 451 is about the importance of books, knowledge, and learning.

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What is the exact setting of Fahrenheit 451?

Bradbury does not offer a specific time or location where the action takes place in order to warn readers that authoritarian regimes with censorship laws can be established anywhere in the world. In regards to the setting of the story, the events take place sometime in a futuristic society, where there are Seashell radios, massive parlour walls, Mechanical hounds, and atomic bombs. Towards the beginning of Part Two, Montag is elaborating on their destructive society to Mildred and mentions,

"Why doesn't someone want to talk about it? We've started and won two atomic wars since 1990" (Bradbury, 34).

This quote is significant and indicates that the story takes place sometime after 1990. Therefore, one can infer that the story is set in the late 1990s or well into the twenty-first century. In regards to the location, several prominent American cities are mentioned in the story. Montag comments that he met Mildred in Chicago, and Faber tells Montag that he will be traveling to St. Louis. Therefore, one can infer that the story is set in the United States. Overall, one can accurately infer that the story is set in the United States sometime in the late 1990s or into the twenty-first century.

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What is the exact setting of Fahrenheit 451?

The exact location and the year of the events of this novel are never specified.  In fact, not only is the setting left ambiguous, but most characters are referred to only by their last names and specific places are kept common (ie: "firehouse") and identified by symbols like the Phoenix emblem.

This is done purposefully.  First of all, the novel is science fiction.  This means that it is understood that the time can be literally anytime in the future, and the places, people and events are not necessarily real, but an exaggeration and social commentary.  To take the focus off such specifics as names and places, the emphasis comes even stronger on the message of the novel and its application to virtually everyone.

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What is the moral of Fahrenheit 451?

To me, the moral of this story is that people need to fight to keep their humanity.  If they do not care about intellectual and emotional life, it will be taken away from them.

In this story, Guy Montag and people like him have very unhappy lives.  They do not have serious thoughts and they do not have emotional relationships.  Why is this?  It is because people have stopped caring about stuff like that.  People have chosen mindless entertainment over things that will make them think.  They have chosen to watch the parlor walls and things like that instead of hanging out with friends and family in the real world.

So Bradbury is warning us -- if you don't think, you will lose the option of thinking.  If you just watch TV and stuff instead of interacting with people, no one will care about each other.  He is telling us that we need to think and to care about other people or we will end up in a dystopian world like Montag's.

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What is the moral of Fahrenheit 451?

I think another theme is alienation and loneliness.  Even though Montag lives with his wife in a large city and has an important job, he really is alone.  His wife spends her time plugged into the TV walls living vicariously through them.  Montag doesn't really have his loneliness is broken until he meets Clarisse.  She makes him realize how alienated he has become to the world around him.  He takes being alive for granted.  Faber too helps relieve some of this.  Of course, when Montag begins to smuggle books into his home, he becomes further alienated from society.

However, after Montag has fled the city and it has been destroyed, he has his alienation relieved by his initiation into the book people.  While he has lost so very much by the novel's resolution, Montag has at last found a real purpose to his life, that ends his alienation and loneliness.

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What is the moral of Fahrenheit 451?

One important lesson from Fahrenheit 451 concerns the danger of ignorance. Most of the citizens in the novel value endless entertainment—with entire walls of their homes serving as virtual television screens— do not read books (which are ritually burned), and are kept in perpetual ignorant bliss. There is war going on in the world, but people have become numb to it. They are encouraged to forget the past, obey authority, and watch their screens. Those who ask too many questions or refuse to conform are either disappeared, burned, destroyed by a mechanical hound, or forced to hide outside of the city like hobos.

There is much else to learn from Fahrenheit, of course. Though written more than a half century ago, many of its critiques apply today—an age in which we have more technology than author Ray Bradbury could have imagined when the novel was published.

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What is the moral of Fahrenheit 451?

Fahrenheit 451 offers several pointed critiques of modern life. First is the alienation and shallowness of thought and culture that Bradbury is suggesting could accompany the growth of mass culture and technology. In the book, people, especially Montag's wife, have embraced these things to the exclusion of independent thought. Bradbury also worries about the effects of apathy, another consequence of modern life. People have ceased to care what is really true, or that they lack basic freedoms. The novel reflects contemporary concerns, as it was written in the midst of the 1950s, a time when technological marvels like the television were popping up in people's homes. It was also a time of heightened concerns about the spread of communism, when politicians such as Joseph McCarthy stoked popular fears about political nonconformists.

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What is the moral of Fahrenheit 451?

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury can teach the reader that curiosity is a rooted trait within humans. Within the text, the protagonist Montag evolves from an unhappy average citizen to a rebel in hiding. Montag’s curiosity connects to the reader in that the idea that something is forbidden (in this case, books and ideas) often makes it more attractive. This has been seen repeatedly throughout history, such as during prohibition. Furthermore, Montag is relatable to the reader in that his defiance and curiosity throughout the story are ultimately what set him free. It is ironic that within this dystopian society, books are to be burned, and yet as a reader you are partaking in what would be considered punishable by law in this unpleasant futuristic world. Ultimately, the lesson that can be taken from the text is that curiosity about the world and the things within it will always light fire within people; therefore, rules and regulations will continuously be challenged and changed.

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What is the moral of Fahrenheit 451?

I think there is a moral lesson in this book about instant gratification. The book serves as a warning to readers about the dangers of instant and easy gratification. I feel that the best character that illustrates this warning is Montag's wife, Mildred. She has found meaning and happiness in life by seeking out the easiest and most mindless ways to achieve that happiness. She takes pills to help her mood, and she fills all of her time by watching television. Those lives that she watches on TV are more important to her than the reality that she lives in because her fictional world makes her happier than her real life.

"Happiness is important. Fun is everything. And yet I kept sitting there saying to myself, I'm not happy, I'm not happy."

"I am." Mildred's mouth beamed. "And proud of it."

She can't fathom why her husband would even consider anything that involves extra work in order to find happiness. The thought of reading a book and engaging that much mental horsepower to find pleasure boggles her mind.

This moral lesson about finding pleasure and happiness outside of a person's living room is echoed in Bradbury's short story "The Pedestrian" as well. In that story, the protagonist is arrested for going on a contemplative stroll around his neighborhood. Fahrenheit 451 supports that same idea. Bradbury wants his readers to continue to find happiness and meaning in slower and more contemplative activities. That's what Montag is searching for, and that's why Clarisse is so much more interesting to him than his own wife. She still exhibits wonder, curiosity, and independent thought.

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What is the moral of Fahrenheit 451?

I do not necessarily disagree with what the first answer says, but I think that it misses the biggest moral lesson of all in this book.

To me, the moral is that people must love learning and thinking and books or else those things will disappear.  After all, it is not the government that comes up with the idea of censorship -- it is the people who demand it.  This book tells us that it is up to people to protect their freedoms or the freedoms will be taken away -- not necessarily by the government, but possibly by their fellow citizens.

So Bradbury wants us to be more contemplative and less interested in excitement and easy pleasures.

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What is the moral of Fahrenheit 451?

1.  Censorship is evil: it is an intrusion on freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and banning books is academic and moral neglect

2.  Books must be protected at all costs: they cannot be changed, amended, rated with labels, stripped or watered down, or sampled.  They must be preserved as a whole to protect the moral integrity of both art and artist.

3.  A government that bans books is a fascist or totalitarian regime whose citizens must band together, rebel, and preserve knowledge and academic freedom.

4.  Nuclear war threatens to destroy the planet.  The only thing worse than a world without books is a world burned to ashes by nuclear warfare.  In the 1950s, nuclear holocaust was a real threat to global annihilation.

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How is Fahrenheit 451 a dystopian novel?

Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 is a classic dystopian novel, for it depicts a society under strict control in which people suffer horribly and lose their individuality. Let’s explore this in more detail.

Dystopian fiction focuses on societies gone wrong, societies in which the government controls nearly every aspect of human life, often through technology. The citizens of these societies are oppressed and miserable, but sometimes they do not even know it because they have been brainwashed to conform to the government. They lose nearly everything that makes them unique individuals.

All of this certainly applies to Bradbury’s novel. Guy Montag lives in a society where the government controls most aspects of people’s lives. They are to conform—or else. Books, for instance, are outlawed because they make people think and ask questions. Books make some people smarter than others, and they promote many different ideas. Since this is offensive to some people, the government has banned books, and it is the job of firemen like Montag to destroy books wherever they are found. Sometimes they destroy book owners along with their books.

In this society, people spend a great deal of time watching the “parlor walls,” video screens that show carefully monitored programming that supplies the populace with their ideas. People like Montag’s wife, Mildred, let the parlor walls do all the thinking for them. They are empty inside, and they do not even realize it. They have lost themselves.

Other people, like Captain Beatty, become channels for government propaganda, as when Beatty explains the need for firemen to Montag. But some, like Montag himself, start questioning the society and even rebelling, reaching out to recover themselves.

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How is Fahrenheit 451 a typical dystopian novel?

There are a number of running themes in Fahrenheit 451 that are typical of dystopian literature. Here are a few examples to consider:

Conformity

The society outlined in the book heavily encourages its residents to act alike, think alike, and stick to their routine. Those who conform to these expectations are considered valued members of society, while those who deviate—whether it's people who read, or people who, like Clarisse, simply have unconventional interests—are ostracized and looked down upon.

One example of this is the scene where Montag realizes for the first time that he and the other firemen all look alike. He wonders to himself whether that might be by design—he became a fireman because his father was one before him; it never occurred to him to ask why or to want something else for himself. That there might even be a choice simply didn't exist in his understanding of world.

Authoritarianism

Montag's society is heavily policed by unforgiving authorities, which is another element very frequently found in dystopian literature. As a fireman, Montag himself is among them. He takes orders, sets fires, and destroys books just like the government orders, careful to observe the rigid laws and rules as he does so. This system is propped up by the people's fear of the authorities—the firemen only know where to burn because the citizens turn each other in to the government.

The full scope of the authoritarian regime comes into view when Montag starts deviating from society's rules. After disregarding a pointed warning from Captain Beatty, Montag is forced to burn his own home. When he flees, the authorities chase him and, ultimately, kill a lookalike on live TV to demonstrate the extent of their power over dissidents.

Industrialization

The world Montag lives in is heavily industrialized to foster maximum efficiency in all things. This comes at the expense of the natural world. (One of the things Montag finds most engaging about Clarisse is her appreciation for the world around her, and her tendency to notice the world's slow, quiet processes.)

When books were made illegal, it was partly because they were too inefficient for the general populace. They were slow to read, and hard to digest—the attention to support them simply wasn't there anymore. The citizens had started moving too quickly through life for them to fit in.

This is typical of dystopian stories, especially when they take place in the future—many authors caution the reader against a world where technology is so advanced that the natural world has become completely obsolete. By including an entire category of intellectual processes—books—in this obsolescence, Fahrenheit 451 takes it one step further.

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What is the key passage in Fahrenheit 451?

In Fahrenheit 451, Guy Montag comes to realize that he must completely transform his way of life and that the society in which he lives is based on lies. This realization occurs not as a single epiphany but through a series of small revelations, which lead up to a climactic scene when he kills Beatty as well as destroys his own home. The structure that Ray Bradbury created means that there are numerous key passages, each attached to one of those revelatory episodes. After Guy kills Beatty, he must flee the city. En route he visits Faber, who tells him how to escape; they also speak of the magnitude of their actions.

When Beatty tells him to burn his own house, he prefaces the command with his analysis of Montag’s situation.

“Montag, you're a burden. And fire will lift you off my shoulders, clean, quick, sure; nothing to rot later. Antibiotic, aesthetic, practical.”

As Montag prepares to leave town, he reaches Faber at the Blacks’ home. He confesses to killing Beatty, but they both agree it was predictable. Montag says,

“It was only the other day everything was fine and the next thing I know I’m drowning. How many tines can a man go down and still be alive? I can’t breathe . . . . Good Christ, the things I’ve done in a single week.”

“You did what you had to do It was coming on for a long time . . . . I feel fine for the first time in years,” said Faber. “I feel I’m doing what I should’ve done a lifetime ago. For a little while I’m not afraid. Maybe it’s because I’m doing the right thing at last.”

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In Fahrenheit 451, what is described in the opening scene?

In the opening paragraph, Bradbury describes the pleasure that Montag experiences as he sets books on fire and watches as the novels are destroyed by the engulfing flames. Bradbury reveals Montag's affinity for burning novels while poetically describing how the flaming pages flap like pigeon wings and the debris from the fire resembles numerous fireflies in the skies. Montag enjoys wielding his flamethrower, which is compared to a venomous snake that spews kerosene, as he behaves like a conductor orchestrating a blazing symphony. Bradbury also describes Montag's fierce grin that never goes away and is stereotypical of all firemen. Bradbury's introduction not only reveals Montag's occupation as a book-burning fireman but also depicts his destructive mindset. At the beginning of the novel, Montag enjoys his job and takes pleasure in burning novels, which allows for his dramatic change of heart and attitude as the novel progresses.

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What is the plot diagram of Fahrenheit 451?

Setting: The story takes place at an undisclosed time and place, but the reader is made to assume that the story is set in a future version of America that is about to be at war with an unknown enemy, shown through the constant military planes that fly overhead. Many US cities are referenced in the text and much of the technology, such as the interactive TV walls, hints at a futuristic, technologically advanced society, more advanced than the year the story was written in, 1953.

Characters: The main character in the story is a man named Montag. He works as a fireman whose job is burning books, which have been deemed illegal in this future version of society. Houses are no longer capable of catching on fire, and everyone is led to believe that burning books has always been the only job of the firemen. Other characters include a teenage girl named Clarisse, who causes Montag to begin to question the status quo, Montag's wife who is happy with the way things are, and Montag's boss Beatty, who is a well-read man who believes that books are meaningless and should remain illegal.

Conflict: The conflict occurs when Clarisse, presumably from a family that secretly rebels against society, meets Montag and begins asking him probing questions, some of which are as simple as asking him if he is happy. Her questions cause him to become introspective and reflective of the way things are in his society and in his life. He becomes unhappy with his life and the rules of his society.

Rising Action: The firemen are called to burn a huge secret library of books in the home of an elderly woman. The firemen urge the woman to get out of the house before they begin using their torches to light the fuel they have poured over her books. She refuses to leave her books behind, and before the men can begin burning the books, she lights a match and kills herself with her books surrounding her. Montag, already questioning the way things are because of Clarisse, wonders what is in books that would cause someone to die for the loss of them, so he steals a book from the house to read. Montag becomes ill, sick from witnessing the woman's death, and calls off work. His boss visits him and sympathizes with him while hinting that he knows that Montag has taken a book and that he has 24 hours to read it and turn it in to him without repercussions. Montag remembers meeting a professor once in the park. He did not turn the man in to the authorities, and the man gave him his contact information, which Montag kept. He contacts the professor and asks him to teach him about books.

Climax: Montag reads a sad poem to his wife's friends and one of them begins to cry and leaves the house. Montag's wife turns him in to the authorities for keeping books. Beatty and the other firemen come to his house to burn all the books he has stolen. Montag helps douse his own house in kerosene, and then he begins to light them on fire, but he also burns Beatty, killing him.

Falling Action: Montag flees the city to hide from the authorities. He was told by the professor about a place outside the city where like-minded people lived in hiding. He follows the railroad tracks out of town until he finds a settlement of book readers who have been watching the manhunt on the news and are expecting him. The authorities kill a random person in the street on live TV once they realize that Montag has escaped. The people in the settlement teach him how to memorize books so that in the future they might be rewritten and reprinted for future people.

Resolution: The city that Montag has just left is bombed by planes, confirming the impending war that the city was preparing for. The reader is left to question who they were at war with. The people of the settlement prepare to rebuild.

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What is the relationship between the conflict and plot in Fahrenheit 451?

Since conflict is an integral part of plot, the conflicts in Fahrenheit 451 are what unfold characterization and develop themes, as well as what moves the sequence of events forward to the conclusion.

The initial conflict of the main character, Guy Montag, is an internal one which is sparked by the inciting incident of the plot: his encounter with the pedestrian Clarisse--"a strange meeting on a strange night." Clarisse disturbs Montag's complacency and apathy (a theme) by asking him the question, "Are you happy?" Disturbed by her question, Montag begins to examine his life with more objectivity, especially after he enters his home and finds his wife near death from having ingested too many sleeping pills.

After Montag seeks emergency help for Mildred and her life is saved, he is so moved by his experience of witnessing a woman who loved her books so much she chose to burn along with them that he tries to communicate his feelings to Mildred and awaken her spirit, as well. However, the apathetic Mildred becomes alienated from Montag. With this theme of Alienation developing from conflicts between Montag and his wife, Montag begins his journey into the enlightenment of his mind and the exercise of his free will and human emotions. He is aided by Professor Faber who guides him in his passage to both intellectual and physical freedom.

The plot reaches its climax when Montag sets fire to Beatty in order to escape after his own wife has informed on him as a holder of books. With the assistance of Faber, Montag finds his way to the secret community of readers who have memorized books in order to preserve them. Thus, the conflict of Man vs. Society is resolved when Montag escapes from the Hound, and the government kills another man to cover the error of having lost Montag. The new war that has begun distracts the public from the story of Montag and he is then forgotten.

Clearly, then, the internal and external conflicts have developed the themes and propelled the plot of Bradbury's disturbing novel to its conclusion.

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What is the plot diagram of Fahrenheit 451?

Exposition: The setting of the novel is in a dystopian society where firemen burn books instead of putting out fires. Montag is a fireman who meets his new neighbor Clarisse McClellan. Clarisse is a 17-year-old girl who becomes the catalyst of Montag's self-awareness. She asks Montag if he is happy with his life. Montag begins to think and evaluates his life.

Conflict: During a routine call, Montag witnesses a woman commit suicide by lighting a match and burning to death with her books. He instinctually takes a book from her house. It is illegal to own books and Montag hides the book under his pillow.

Rising Action: Captain Beatty suspects Montag has stolen a book and lectures him on the necessity of destroying books. Beatty is knowledgeable regarding literature despite the society's censorship rules. He gives Montag 24 hours to look through the book to prove literature is void of meaning. He contacts a former English professor, Faber, in hopes of understanding literature.

Climax: Montag reads the poem "Dover Beach" to his wife and her friends. The poem makes Mrs. Phelps cry, and the ladies storm out of his house. Montag's wife, Mildred, calls the fire chief to report that her husband is hiding books.

Falling Action: When Montag is told to burn his books, he sprays the flamethrower at Beatty and kills him. Montag goes on the run and flees the city. He travels down the river and follows the railroad tracks until he meets a group of "hobo" intellectuals.

Resolution: The group of intellectuals teaches Montag how to recite books from memory in hopes of one-day reproducing written works. Jets fly overhead and drop a nuclear bomb on the city. Montag begins to walk towards society to eventually rebuild a literate civilization.

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What is the relationship between the conflict and plot in Fahrenheit 451?

In Fahrenheit 451, the conflict is presented as Montag's increasing awareness of the suppressed state of the society he's been living in. Prior to his conversations with Clarisse, Montag never questioned the act of burning books. He passively went about his life, taking pride in his work without thinking twice about it. However, after Clarisse sparks his imagination, he begins to wonder about his own happiness and he eventually desires literature and knowledge. The initial conflict emerges with Montag. He wants to read and to learn but he lives in a world where that is discouraged. The plot follows Montag's awakening and then broadens to include other characters he comes into contact with. Montag's inner conflict drives the plot. 

After Montag's awakening, he elicits the help of Faber. He reads poetry aloud to Mildred and her friends. He is eventually caught by Beatty and the firemen. Montag has no choice but to run away where he finds Granger and the book people. In short, Montag's awakening caused his inner conflict. As he attempts to feed his new thirst for knowledge, he affects those around him, and this includes his attempt to get his wife to see the inspiration of reading. So, Montag's inner conflict becomes a social conflict, culminating in his confrontation with Beatty and his eventual escape. 

Meanwhile, there is an additional conflict, a war, developing as Montag escapes. 

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What is the key passage in Fahrenheit 451?

A key passage that grasps more than one theme of the book is near the end when Granger and Montag are speaking.  The passage begins, "Granger stood looking back with Montag."  It ends with, "The lawn cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime."  In the passage, Granger talks about how his grandfather said every person should leave something behind him when he dies, some benefit to the welfare of others.  The story deals to a great extent with the passivity of the people in the society.  They don't care about much except for themselves.  This is seen in Mildred, her friends, the way kids kill kids according to the description Clarisse gives Montag.  The lawncutter is passive; his actions do not bring about any significant change.  The gardener, on the other hand, creates something which is a positive change.  The passage also addresses the theme of change and transformation. The lawncutter does not bring about change, but the gardener does.  The gardener transforms his plot of earth from nothing more than dirt and weeds to something that can nourish and sustain people.

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In Fahrenheit 451, what is described in the opening scene?

The opening scene describes a book burning by the firemen.  It is described as Montag sees it and experiences it through many of his senses. It begins with him pouring the kerosene on the books and then proceeds to his lighting the fire.  The way the pages of the books curl as they burn is described in poetic, almost loving terms.  The whole scene is described with fascination and pleasure because this is how Montag feels about what he does in the beginning of the story.  He has an almost child-like fascination with fire.  It's not unlike the fascination that many people have as they watch something burn; the transformation is compelling.  Bradbury wanted the readers to be able to compare the way Montag feels at the opening of the story to the way he feels at the end, and to be able to compare the difference in fire that destroys such as this fire and fire that comforts such as the one around the book people that Montag encounters in the last part of the story.

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