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English 1 - Hum - 3
13 May 2015
SAQ\'s for Fahrenheit 451
4. Montag, the main character in the novel, Fahrenheit 451, lives in a fireproof society. Yet, he himself is a firefighter. In this dystopian society, fires are not put out, but rather created, and for one sole purpose. These fires are made to destroy the most illegal of commodities; the printed book. At first, Montag does this willingly and never questions the destruction and ruin he and his fire squad make, and goes back to his bland house and wife everyday, living out his years in this "life." But, after meeting a neighbor of his, Clarisse, his eyes are open to the actions he had done, and he starts to secretly keep some of the books that he had seen at houses he was suppose to destroy. These books definitely change his life, and arguably for the better. They allow him to think, have an opinion that wasn\'t given to him by society; they give him his freedom from the chains and shackles of the dystopian world he lives him. Before, Montag simply went through the motions everyday, doing what he was told and he thought he was happy. However, after he sees through clean eyes, ones not corrupt by society, he realizes he is not happy, from page 62, "Happiness is important. Fun is everything. And I kept sitting there saying to myself, I\'m not happy, I\'m not happy." These books he kept and finally read did not demolish his life; he wasn\'t living in the first place, and we know this from his distress and wanting to understand books, as he says to Faber, "Nobody listens anymore. I can\'t talk to the walls because they are yelling at me. I can\'t talk to my wife; she listens to the walls. I just want someone to hear what I have to say. And maybe, if I talk long enough, it\'ll make sense. And I want you to teach me to understand what I read." This willingness and longing to read books shows that Montag truly was never living before he was introduced to books, that the life these books demolished was not a life at all, that these books truly did rescue him; they rescued him from the uniformity of the confined walls of the society he had lived in for far too long.
5. Montag was right in believing Beatty wanted to die. In no way, as Montag aimed his fire hose directly at Beatty, did he ever try and stop him from killing him; in a way, Beatty egged him on to doing this. On page 113, Beatty says, taunting Montag, "Go ahead now, you second-hand litterateur, pull the trigger." Never once, after Montag points the fire hose at Beatty, does Beatty try and move out of the way of fire or take the weapon away from him. As Montag described it, "He had just stood there, not really trying to save himself, just stood there, joking, needling, thought Montag,… instead of shutting up and staying alive, you go on yelling at people and making fun of them until you get them mad, and then…" Beatty had lived in a society which burned books; yet he loved them, or at least had in the past. He had an immense knowledge of literature, and it was obvious that the man was well read, yet he himself burned books. By analyzing this, one may conclude that Beatty had never really been happy and that there was major internal conflict going on with his character. It is from this idea that Beatty had wanted to die; he no longer could live in a place where books were burnt, where he was chained by the shackles of society and so close to escaping, yet couldn\'t find a way out.
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Fahrenheit 451, Social science fiction, Beatty, Nevada, Beatty, Guy Montag
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