18.11.20 Characterization of Montag Guy Montag is the thirty-year-old main protagonist in Ray Bradbury's novel "Fahrenheit 451”. He works as a fireman and lives with his wife Mildred. Throughout the novel, Montag changes from the picture-perfect, obedient citizen into a critically-thinking, curious, determined character who is challenging the system he is living in. At the beginning of the novel, it seems like Montag enjoys his job as a fireman, as he describes burning as a pleasure (cf.p.9 1.1). It also becomes evident that his job makes him feel powerful and provides him with a luxurious-feeling lifestyle (cf.p.9 II.16-26). Guy Montag is often unsure of himself and his emotions or opinions. As a result, he is easily unsettled by Clarisse McClellan's questions and statements. After one of their encounters, Guy utters: "I don't know anything anymore" (p.21 1.53). One can quickly notice that he is worried about possibly becoming too much like Clarisse, as he states that she "think(s) too many things" (p.13 1.67). On many occasions, Montag himself is more aware of certain aspects than most other people. He seems to experience more profound thoughts and emotions than the average person. For instance, he experiences uncertain feelings on the sidewalk when walking home and almost seems to feel Clarisse's presence before seeing her (cf.p.9 II.14-30). His...
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feelings and doubts seem to scare him, because he knows that they are a potential danger. Therefore, he repeatedly tries to convince himself that he is not unusual or different. Evidence for this can be found when he tells himself: "Of course I'm happy. What does she think? I'm not?” (p.14 1.36). In reality, Montag feels very unsatisfied and not fulfilled in his life, especially in his marriage with Mildred. He is desperate to feel loved by her and longs to feel a deep connection to someone, which is why he tries to remind Mildred of the time they met (cf.p.42 1.8). As the story progresses, Montag becomes more and more aware of these negative emotions and feelings of discontent he is experiencing. He seems to acknowledge that Mildred does not make him happy and he is no longer left unaffected by the damage which his actions as a fireman are causing, especially in the case of Mrs Blake (cf.p.36 II.22 ff.). Moreover, he shows his secret stack of books to Mildred and wants to read them. It is obvious that Montag is an extremely curious and inquisitive person. Once he realizes the intensity of these newly present feelings, he becomes extremely determined to take action. For this reason, he tells Mildred "I'm going to do something." "I don't even know what yet, but I'm going to do something big." (p.61 II.39 f.). His actions in Part Two of the novel prove that those were not empty promises, as Montag actually seeks out interaction with Faber and creates specific plans to change the world he is living in. To draw a conclusion, it can be said that Guy Montag's real personality reveals itself throughout the course of the novel and undergoes many changes. Despite experiencing constant fear and uncertainty, he challenges himself to keep questioning his beliefs and emotions and is willing to risk everything in order to stand up for them and induce permanent change.