What are four personality traits of Guy Montag in Fahrenheit 451?

Quick answer:

Montag's sense of yearning for a fulfilling life shows his desirous nature, and he proves that he is rebelliousness enough to act on it, even at great risk. While Montag shows himself to be sensitive and excitable, his eagerness also reveals his naivety and imprudence, as it gives way to poor judgment and mistakes.

Expert Answers

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

Guy Montag is innately sensitive and imaginative, intelligent but blundering, and quite discontent with his life.

As the narrative opens, Montag walks home from work, thinking that "it was a pleasure to burn" because he finds something creative in the destruction: "the books went up in sparkling whirls and blew away...

This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

on a wind turned dark with burning" (Part I). However, when he encounters Clarisse, Montag meets a person who further ignites his imagination and mind by introducing him to new ways of thinking. When he first sees Clarisse, Montag's imagination is captured in a positive way.

The autumn leaves blew over the moonlit pavement in such a way as to make the girl who was moving there seem fixed to a sliding walk, letting the motion of the wind and leaves carry her forward. . . . Her face was slender and milk-white, and in it was a kind of gentle hunger that touched everything with tireless curiosity....Her dress was white and it whispered. He almost thought he heard the motion of her hands as she walked, and the infintely small sound now, the white stir of her face turning (Part I).

Montag is greatly moved by this introduction to such an unusually imaginative and sensitive girl. In fact, his encounter causes Montag to have a "brief rediscovery" of the imaginative feelings he shared with his mother when he was a boy. He is reminded of the time they had a power failure and lit "a last candle" that illuminated space and dimensions which seemed to "draw comfortably around them." (Part I)

As Montag talks with Clarisse, she observes that he does not stop to think about what she has asked him before he responds. Then, before she departs, Clarisse asks Montag if he is happy. Afterwards, Montag finds that his meeting with her has been very strange, for she has awakened feelings in him. Montag feels "his body divide itself . . . the two halves grinding one upon the other" (Part I). Further, when he commits certain acts that are no longer permitted in his society, Montag wants to blame Clarisse, who has "run across the lawn with the mask" and Faber, who speaks in his ear, because these two individuals have revived old feelings and ideas in him. 

Later on, Montag makes efforts to revive his humanness by awakening his heart and mind to thoughts and feelings that have been deadened by his technological society. He knows that he must regain individuality.  He tells Faber, "I don't want to change sides and just be told what to do. There's no reason to change if I do that" (Part II).  Unfortunately, Montag becomes misguided and blunders in his attempts to recapture his existential needs by performing acts like reading aloud to Mildred and her friends. When Montag's house is burned because Mildred betrays him, Beatty compares him to Icarus, who wanted to fly, but went too close to the sun and "burnt his damn wings." As a result, it is only after Montag flees into nature that he finally begins the creative part of his life. Along with the other "books" who live in the woods, Montag joins the regenerative process that will likely take his entire lifetime.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Guy Montag of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 is definitely a very richly developed protagonist who, like a real person, has many different personality traits. Below are a few ideas to help get you started.

For one thing, although the protagonist of the story, he starts out by not being the leader one might expect of a protagonist but rather a follower. He starts out as a follower by working for his government as a fireman, responsible for burning books, including any houses containing books. However, even once he begins to question the rightness of his occupation and whether or not all society is merely wearing a "mask of happiness," he tries to continue to cling to his ways, even asking Captain Beatty, his boss, to explain the history of firemen. Therefore, in this sense, he is a follower.

Regardless of being more of a follower, he also proves to be very intelligent, far more intelligent than his wife. He is intelligent enough to question his own happiness, his wife's happiness, and even the happiness of all society and to read, as we especially see in the early passage:

He was not happy. He said the words to himself. He recognized this as the true state of affairs. He wore his happiness like a mask and the girl had run off across the lawn with the mask and there was no way to going to knock on her door and ask for it back. (p. 5)

He is even intelligent enough to understand the books he steals from work. In contrast, his wife fails to see any meaning behind the books, failing to see them as "real people" in the way that characters on TV are "real people."

He even proves to be quite rash, which is especially demonstrated towards the end of the novel when he kills his own boss.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What is a character trait of Professor Faber from Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451?

Professor Faber is a passionate, intelligent man who has an affinity for knowledge and agrees to help Montag challenge the fireman institution. Initially, Faber is portrayed as a timid man and tells Montag that he refuses to help him. However, Montag understands that Faber is passionate about literature. He changes Faber's mind by tearing pages out of the Bible in front of him. Faber finally agrees to help Montag and demonstrates his passion for literature by elaborating on the significance of books. Faber teaches Montag that books have quality and substance, provide leisure time, and positively influence individuals to alter their lives. Faber also reveals his passion for literature by helping Montag comprehend and challenge Captain Beatty, who attempts to confuse and manipulate Montag during an argument over literature. Faber also demonstrates his passion for literature by taking several books that Montag gave him and traveling to St. Louis, where he will reproduce the rare books and spread them throughout society.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What is a character trait of Professor Faber from Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451?

In Fahrenheit 451, one of Professor Faber's strongest character traits is his cowardice. Faber is very open about this trait, as he tells Montag when he visits his apartment:

"Mr Montag, you are looking at a coward."

Faber believes himself to be a coward because he witnessed first-hand the development of academic censorship and did nothing. He did not speak out, for example, nor did he encourage people to continue to read books. Once the fireman system was established, Faber "grunted a few times," but it was already too late to reverse this process.

This cowardice does have one redeeming feature, however. It leads Faber to create his own communication device which looks similar to the Seashell Radio. This device enables Faber to keep in touch with Montag when he meets with Captain Beatty and is in great need of emotional and intellectual support. 

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What are five personality traits that describe Faber in Fahrenheit 451?

Faber is a retired English professor.  The old man makes quite an impression on Montague.


Since Faber used to be an English teacher, he has been thrown away by society.  No one wants books anymore. 

The old man admitted to being a retired English professor who had been thrown out upon the world forty years ago when the last liberal arts college shut for lack of students and patronage. (p. 34)

The old man has held onto his love for literature for forty years in a society that not only does not appreciate books, but burns them.


Faber talks with a “cadenced voice” and speaks his ideas clearly.  He still has that professorial story-telling ability that entrances Montague from their first meeting. 


Faber is very convincing.  When Montague finds him, he is weak and timid.  However, when he talks and tells stories he is impassioned.

"I don't talk things, sir," said Faber. "I talk the meaning of things. I sit here and know I'm alive." (p. 34)

Faber’s passion is contagious, and Montague soon comes to the realization that Faber’s world is more real than his.


Faber can recite poetry and knows a lot about books.  He seems to realize that Montague is interested in learning about books.


When Montague calls him to ask how many Bibles are left, and how many copies of Shakespeare, he gets suspicious.  He answers that there are none and hangs up.  Even though he let Montague know who he was, he clearly is still careful.

Last Updated on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What are some of Faber's positive and negative traits in Fahrenheit 451?

In Fahrenheit 451, Faber is a retired English professor that Guy Montag turns to for help, and like everyone, Faber has good points and bad points.

Faber is a wise man, and he offers Montag new perspectives, especially about books. Montag has always been taught that books are silly and useless at best and often even dangerous. But Faber shows him the wonders of books and literature. Books are challenging. They make people face truth. They force people to think. They present new and often disturbing ideas. They will not allow people to be lazy in their minds. They present people with a magic beyond anything the “parlor walls” can even come close to. Faber explains all of this as well as how the powers that be want people unthinking and controllable. That's why they have to get rid of the books. Faber's words make Montag think in new ways, and this is certainly worthy of respect.

Faber and Montag develop a plan to bring down the system, and it seems like it might just work. Faber has even developed a brilliant communications device to keep him connected with Montag. But then Faber gets cold feet. He tells Montag that their idea is just fantasy, and he descends toward despair when he explains that they really can't help anything, for people actually chose to stop reading out of laziness. Sometimes, too, Faber can be on the cowardly side, as he himself admits. He helps Montag escape toward the end of the novel, but he does not flee with him. Rather he goes to St. Louis in hopes of writing a new book. Perhaps he is not as much a coward as a man who knows his limits and abides by them.

Last Updated on