How does Montag evolve in Fahrenheit 451?

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Montag changes from being a drone of the oppressive regime he burns books for, and he becomes a defender of literature and culture. His encounters with the old woman who dies with her books and with Clarisse both prompt his transformation. Also, his interactions with Faber help him to see another possible way to live. At the end of the novel, Montag works against the government he used to uphold.

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At first, Montag is a proud fireman, loyally and faithfully carrying out the orders of the authorities to round up and destroy books. But after a particularly nasty incident in which an old lady allows herself to be burned to death rather than hand over her books, he starts to question the nature of his work and the legitimacy of the despotic regime he serves.

Under the influence of the free-spirited Clarisse, Montag becomes aware that there's a much bigger world beyond that which is societally sanctioned. It's a world whose richness and complexity is captured by the very books he destroys on a regular basis. He also begins to realize the true nature of the regime he has so loyally served. It seeks to subjugate the human spirit through serving up an endless diet of mindless TV and dissuading human connection.

With the assistance of Faber, Montag becomes an active opponent of the government. By the end of the novel, Montag is a true enemy of the state. He swears to do what he can to smash the regime and end its tyranny once and for all. We can say that his consciousness has developed to such an extent by the last pages that he's no longer the same man he was at the start.

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In Fahrenheit 451 Guy Montag changes from an unthinking individual, an automaton of his depersonalized society who ignores his soul, into a man who realizes his spiritual needs as a human being.

It is interesting that Montag becomes the Book of Ecclesiastes because of the message of its verse:

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven....a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn...a time to keep and to cast away....a time to keep silent, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

For, in a sense, Montag passes through different times in his life that parallel the times described in this verse. In the exposition of Bradbury's novel, Montag enjoys the lowest creative act, that of destruction:

It was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed.

He delights in watching the "flapping pigeon-winged books die" as he torches the forbidden property. However, after he meets the pedestrian Clarisse, who walks in a society in which no one walks, Montag is unnerved. She questions Montag to perceive if he can think for himself, and she concludes, "You never stop to think what I've asked you." This meeting with the delightful young Clarisse effectively leaves Montag wondering about his contentment with life: "He was not happy." Nor apparently is his wife Mildred, whom he finds in a death stupor from taking pills. After plumber-type emergency responders pump her stomach indifferently, Mildred is her old self the next day, remembering nothing. This mindless insensitivity of Mildred stirs Montag's recall of Clarisse and the contrast of personalities. 

Generated by Clarisse's further conversations with him, along with his realization that his personal life is empty as he dwells with an insipid woman, a "season" of doubt develops in the mind of Guy Montag. One day he impulsively catches a book during a burning of a house. Then, after Clarisse disappears and his boss Beatty comes to his house and lectures him about the dangers of books, ironically evincing a knowledge of several works, Montag grows increasingly interested in the contents of books. He contacts a former professor named Faber, whom he previously encountered one day in a park.

Thus begins Montag's "time to keep, and a time to cast away." He is instructed by Faber through the use of an ear piece and starts to read a bible he has stolen, memorizing parts of EcclesiastesBut, Beatty grows suspicious of Montag. Further, his wife, a mere automaton of the society, reports Montag for possession of books. The following day, Beatty takes Montag to his own house, forcing him to torch his own home. In rebellion, Montag turns his torch onto Beatty.

After this criminal act, Montag flees to the house of Faber and he becomes part of a nationwide network of bibliophiles who have memorized many of the great works in the hope of restoring society after the war which has begun. Faber gives Montag the role of memorizing the Book of Ecclesiastes. For, Montag now it is 

...a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

He lives with a community that embraces him with optimism for a future in which people's minds are opened. It is a new Montag who "felt the slow stir of words, the slow simmer" of his mind's awakening.

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At the beginning of the novel, Montag is a mindless servant of the state. He does not question his role in his marriage or as a fireman and he does not even second guess his own thoughts. His transformation begins after he meets Clarisse. She is the one who gets Montag to begin questioning everything from his own happiness to the reason for burning books. The second part of Montag's transformation is when he starts reading some of the books he'd stolen from the fires. Then he contacts Faber, an English professor, and the ideas they share only adds even more fuel to the fire of Montag's thirst for knowledge. By the end of the novel, Montag has gone from not even being aware of the mental and social prison he was in to an enlightened and increasingly inquisitive state of mind. It is a complete mental transformation. In fact, he becomes knowledge itself when Granger tells him, “If anything should happen to Harris, you are the Book of Ecclesiastes” (134). It is fitting that the novel begins with the word “changed” in italics. “It was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed” (1). This is an ironic twist.  Instead of changing things by destroying them, Montag is changing the world by preserving knowledge and he, in turn, changes himself. 

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In Fahrenheit 451, how has Montag changed over this novel and how did his beliefs and actions change by the end?

Montag goes from being a good citizen of their society wholoved his job.  He states that "it was a pleasure to burn"; he wanted to "shove a marshmallow on a stick" in front of the burning house, and went to bed with a "fiery smile still gripped by his face muscles."  He took the exact pleasure in his job that his society hoped he would.

He starts to change when he meets Clarisse.  For the first time in his life, questions whether he is happy.  His safe world had "melted down and sprung up in a new and colorless form."  From here on out, he starts questioning things.  He starts asking questions about the people whose houses he burns.  And, the next house he burns, instead of wanting to callously toast marshmallows, he is highly disturbed.  He goes home and can't sleep, then stays home "sick"; he suffers a crisis of sorts.  He confronts the Barbie-esque Mildred and her friends.  He seeks out Faber, and they make plans for rebellion.  He starts openly reading books, defiantly insisting on taking them in.

At the end of the novel, his entire world has changed; "he would not be Montag anymore...and one day he would look back upon the fool and know the fool.  Even now he could feel the start of the long journey, the leave-taking, the going away from the self he had been."  He finds the courage to run away, and with others, try to rebuild things in a better way.

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In Fahrenheit 451, how has Montag changed over this novel and how did his beliefs and actions change by the end?

Montag grows from an unquestioning fireman to a fighter for social change. In the beginning of the novel, Montag is a simple firefighter who does his job of burning books with little question about why the books are such a threat they must be destroyed. The turning point comes when he sees an old woman die with her books rather than live without them. He then wants to know what is so valuable about books that a person to die for them. He then begins to read the books and decides they have great value. Eventually, he escapes from his society and becomes one of the people who memorize books in order to preserve them for posterity. He doesn't have long to wait because his society is destroyed in a war and the people that are left are those that have preserved books, and thus freedom of thought, for all the survivors.

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What are Montag's actions and beliefs at the end of Fahrenheit 451?

By the end of the book, Montag has completely rethought his life. He now understands that it is illogical and socially destructive to burn books. He has transformed from one who took pleasure in burning books to one who takes pleasure and a sense of responsibility in preserving books and knowledge. 

After killing Beatty, Montag runs for his life. He hears a radio transmission from the police requesting everyone in the area to open their doors to look for Montag. Montag truly feels like a social outcast at this moment. Floating down the river, Montag has a realization that he is leaving a fake world and entering into a new, real world: 

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. 

He dreams of now living in a world where he has time to think. He has a fresh awareness of all the natural things around him. He even manages a half a smile. (Recall that in talking with Clarisse, she asked him if he was happy and he could not truthfully answer that question.) When Montag meets Granger and the other book specialists, he initially feels that he doesn't belong with them. This is because of his past. However, they embrace him. He becomes the Book of Ecclesiastes. He has made the transition from a destroyer of knowledge to a preserver. 

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How did Guy Montag change throughout the novel Fahrenheit 451?

Initially, Montag believes in and supports the culture of which he is a part. He enjoys his role as a book-burning fireman. As the opening line of the novel tells us, Montag finds:

It was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed. With the brass nozzle in his fists, with this great python spitting its venomous kerosene upon the world, the blood pounded in his head, and his hands were the hands of some amazing conductor playing all the symphonies of blazing and burning to bring down the tatters and charcoal ruins of history. 

But his ideas soon begin to change. He meets Clarisse, who "think[s] too many things," and he too starts to ponder:

What incredible power of identification the girl had; she was like the eager watcher of a marionette show, anticipating each flicker of an eyelid, each gesture of his hand, each flick of a finger, the moment before it began. How long had they walked together? Three minutes? Five? Yet how large that time seemed now.

It's not only his encounter with Clarisse that beings to initiate a change in Montag. He has hardly arrived home from meeting her when he finds his wife, Mildred, has attempted suicide. She is barely breathing and near her he finds an empty pill bottle:

The object he had sent tumbling with his foot now glinted under the edge of his own bed. The small crystal bottle of sleeping-tablets which earlier today had been filled with thirty capsules and which now lay uncapped and empty in the light of the tiny flare. 

He had believed he was happy. He had thought Mildred was content. Now he begins to understand that something is wrong with both of their lives. 

He meets Clarisse again. She tells him he is different:

"When I said something about the moon, you looked at the moon, last night. The others would never do that. The others would walk off and leave me talking. Or threaten me. No one has time any more for anyone else. You're one of the few who put up with me. That's why I think it's so strange you're a fireman, it just doesn't seem right for you, somehow."

He felt his body divide itself into a hotness and a coldness, a softness and a hardness, a trembling and a not trembling, the two halves grinding one upon the other. 

As he feels his body "divide" itself, his change is truly beginning to take hold. He becomes interested in the world of books. He grows fascinated with what they offer beyond the opportunity to burn them. He realizes he wants more than his dulled-down, routine life. Montag begins to think for himself and to seek out the people who read. By the end of the novel he has been transformed from a fireman, a symbol of conformity to the system, to a renegade rebel living outside his society with others like him, for the first time truly alive. 

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How did Guy Montag change throughout the novel Fahrenheit 451?

After meeting Clarisse, Guy Montag begins to question things in ways he's never done before. Previous to this encounter, Guy simply went about his business as a fireman and did as he was told. In their first meeting, Clarisse tells Montag that she had once heard that firemen used to put fires out, rather than start them. Montag laughs. Clarisse replies: 

"You laugh when I haven't been funny and you answer right off. You never stop to think what I've asked you." 

This is a key and blatant moment in the early part of the novel where Clarisse clearly challenges Montag to "think" about things. As she leaves Montag, she asks him if he is happy. Ordinarily, Montag would not give such a thing, or anything, a second thought. But Clarisse sparked some curiosity in him and he begins to question if he is happy. As far as Montag realizes at this point, no one has ever challenged him to think in this way: 

How rarely did other people's faces take of you and throw back to you your own expression, your own innermost trembling thought? 

As the novel continues, Montag's curiosity grows. He continues to question his life, his role as a fireman, and the supposed illegality and evil of books. He stockpiles books he steals from fires and reads. He questions his wife's lifestyle and realizes any significant connection they may have had is lost. Eventually, Montag's curiosity gets him into trouble with Beatty and higher authorities. But by this time, he has passed the point of no return as he becomes determined to question things, gain more knowledge, and find greater significance in his life. 

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How did Guy Montag change throughout the novel Fahrenheit 451?

The previous poster has it right and one of the important things that happens is when Montag meets Clarisse as her incessant questions and her completely different manner than the rest of the people around him drives him to also begin to question things in his own life.  As he allows the questions to enter his mind, he sees the absurdity of his wife's existence and starts to lose the satisfaction he felt earlier in doing a good job of burning, etc.

The burning alive of the woman and his eventual perusal of a number of books are what push him over the edge and he begins to fight actively against the firemen and what they stand for eventually abandoning the society completely to try and start over.

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How did Guy Montag change throughout the novel Fahrenheit 451?

The central character of the novel and its hero. Fahrenheit 451 is about the transformation of Montag from an obedient servant of the state to a questioning human being. Montag begins to question his society and his place in it. He also starts to think about his wife and how she spends all her time gossiping. Montag begins to read the forbidden books and realizes that the societal rules are not what he believes in.

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In Fahrenheit 451, discuss the transformation that Guy Montag undergoes as the story moves forward.

Guy Montag goes from a character who is complacent and who thinks that he is happy; in fact, he loves his job and is supremely confident in what he does.  He is a man who feels, as the first line of the novel states, "It was a pleasure to burn," who, for his entire life, had lived and gone along with everything, and felt happy about it. In fact, "for as long as he remembered" he had had a smile on his face.

He starts to change upon his first meeting with Clarisse.  She asks him if he was happy, and he asserts defensively, "Happy!  Of all nonsense!" not ever having asked himself that question before.  But she was truly happy, a peaceful happy that lent her an inward glow, so, when he steps into his cold house and discovers his wife's suicide attempt, he wonders if he really IS happy.  He can't help but compare Clarisse's inner light to Mildred's inner misery.  He wonders what has made both of them the way that they are.

His continued visits with Clarisse impact him even more; he wonders if books, being forbidden, are at the center of what is wrong with his society.  The real changing point for him comes after he torches Mrs. Blake's house, and she chooses to go down with her books and home.  This affirms for him that there is something vitally important in books, and something seriously wrong in his society.  He is so disturbed he becomes sick, and after Beatty's visit decides to hunt answers in books.  However, he has a hard time, so, enter Faber.  Faber teaches him why books are important, and Montag is so fired up about it that he is willing to undermine the entire system to give books a chance.

At this point, he has changed from an accepting civilian to a questioning independent thinker.  He is disillusioned with his world; he is unhappy and seeking answers; he is willing to fight to get answers and to enact changes in his society.  He challenges Mildred's mindless friends, and in the end, gains so much confidence in the trail that he is seeking that he has the strength to torch Beatty and go on the run.

At the end of the novel, he is a man on the run, wanted, hunted down, who has rejected the entire premise of his society.  No longer is his happiness dictated by his society; he goes off on his own to find what real happiness is.  With Granger, he is willing to rebuild society, to undertake the task of "remembering" what real happiness is.

I hope that these thoughts help; I provided some links below that you might find useful also.

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How has Montag changed from the begining of Fahrenheit 451?

Montag goes through a massive process of change in this novel. At the beginning, he is shown to the reader as somebody who loves burning books, and is excited about his job and loves the experience of being in control of fire. He is an agent of destruction, a person who enjoys nothing more than to burn. However, gradually, through his meetings with Clarisse and then through the experience of the woman who would rather die and burn with her books than anything else, he becomes increasingly dissatisfied with his life, and begins to turn to books to find the meaning that he feels is increasingly lacking in his own life. The reader sees that he attains some measure of happiness and peace at the end of the novel when he finally manages to leave the city and escape the Mechanical Hound. Consider the following quote and how Montag's feelings are described:

The river was very real; it held him comfortably and gave him the time at last, the leisure, to consider this month, this year, and a lifetime of years. He listened to his heart slow. His thoughts stopped rushing with his blood.

As he floats away on the river, what Montag finds is that he can slow down and relax; he now has the chance and the "leisure" and the time he needs to think and reflect. This measure of peace and tranquility that he has is supported when he meets the Book People and joins them, having his own fragments to remember. He suddenly has purpose once again, and he attains a measure of contentment. 

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In Fahrenheit 451, how do you explain the change Guy Montag undergoes as the story moves forward?

As the novel opens, Guy Montag has a vague sense of discontent with his life, but he can't figure out what it may be. Most of the people in his life are perfectly happy with their superficial (and super-fast) existence, but Montag senses there is more to life.

Clarisse is the first to encourage Montag to explore his discontent by pointing out little things--like the taste of rain or the fragrance of grass. Montag is fascinated by Clarisse because her depth makes her different from anyone he knows.

Montag  collected a number of books in his work, for reasons he didn't understand.  Subconsciously he had an idea that the answers to his questions were in the books, but he didn't know how or where to begin.  When the firemen burn down a house with a woman inside, Montag decides to at least look inside the books hidden in his house.

The more Montag reads, the more certain he is that there is more to life than what he can see. Faber encourages this train of thought, and Montag begins to grow more determined to understand the deeper philosophies that have been banned by his society.

By the end of the book, Montag has hope for a future that has meaning. The "book-men" embrace him and give him a role that matters: the keeper of Ecclesiastes. As they begin to walk toward the bombed out city, Montag embraces his new role and sense of purpose. He is finally content.

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