Discussion Topic

The fate of Montag's green bullet in Fahrenheit 451

Summary:

In Fahrenheit 451, Montag's green bullet is discovered and crushed by Captain Beatty. This device, a two-way communication tool created by Faber, is used by Montag to receive guidance. Beatty's discovery of the green bullet signifies a critical moment in the story, leading to a confrontation between Montag and Beatty.

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How does Beatty discover Montag's green bullet in Fahrenheit 451?

To answer this question, take a look at Part Three of the novel. During a confrontation between Beatty and Montag, Montag is wearing the green bullet, the two-way communication device that enables him to talk to Faber.

Beatty has no idea that Montag is wearing this device. As the confrontation intensifies, however, Beatty strikes Montag on the head, causing Montag to stumble backward and for the green bullet to fall out of his ear and onto the ground. 

Beatty picks up the bullet and grins. At first, he thinks it might be a seashell radio but then he places it half into his ear and realizes that there is another person, Faber, on the other end.  Beatty confiscates the device (by placing it into his pocket) and tells Montag that he will use the bullet to trace Faber's whereabouts. This threat to Faber is one of the reasons why Montag kills Beatty. 

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How does Beatty discover Montag's green bullet in Fahrenheit 451?

At the beginning of Part Three, Beatty commands Montag to burn his home and gives him a flamethrower. After Montag torches his home, Beatty tells him that he is under arrest. Beatty then explains to Montag that his wife and her friends called an alarm on him. As Beatty is speaking, Faber yells into Montag's ear to get away. Beatty then strikes Montag on his head, and the green bullet falls out of his ear onto the sidewalk. Faber's voice can faintly be heard yelling for Montag to leave as Beatty walks over and picks up the green bullet. Beatty then turns it off and puts it into his pocket. Beatty looks at Montag and tells him that he saw the green bullet in his ear when Montag tilted his head. Beatty mentions that initially, he thought it was a Seashell radio, but when Montag "turned clever" he began to wonder. Beatty then tells Montag that he will trace the green bullet back to its owner.

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What happened to Montag's green bullet in Fahrenheit 451?

In part two, Montag visits Faber's home in order to ask for help comprehending the texts that he is reading. After initially refusing to help Montag, Faber explains to him the importance of literature and gives him a two-way communication device known as the green bullet. Montag wears the green bullet and listens to Faber's advice during a conversation with Captain Beatty, where Beatty attempts to convince him that the pursuit of knowledge is futile and meaningless.

In part three, Mildred and her friends call in an alarm on Montag, and Captain Beatty forces him to burn his books and home. After Montag destroys the majority of his book collection, Captain Beatty notices the green bullet and knocks it out of Montag's ear. Bradbury writes,

Beatty struck him a blow on the head that sent him reeling back. The green bullet in which Faber's voice whispered and cried fell to the sidewalk. Beatty snatched it up, grinning. He held it half in, half out of his ear (55).

Captain Beatty then switches the green bullet off and tells Montag that he suspected the device was more than just a typical Seashell radio when Montag "turned clever." He then promises to trace the green bullet and arrest the person on the other end assisting Montag. Montag reacts to Beatty's threat by aiming the flamethrower directly at him and incinerating him in the street.

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What happened to Montag's green bullet in Fahrenheit 451?

At Montag's burning house, Montag and Beatty fight.  During the scuffle, Montag's green bullet falls out of his ear and hits the ground.  From there, "Beatty snatched it up, grinning...switched the green bullet off and thrust it in his pocket."  He then threatens to trace the signal, to find Montag's friend, Faber.  This is the last straw for Montag.  They burned his house, were trying to take him, and now Beatty threatened Faber's safety.  This is the point where Montag loses it and threatens Beatty with the flame-thrower.  Beatty taunts him, and Montag torches him.  So in the end, his green bullet gets burnt, along with Beatty, by Montag himself.

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