Essay on Changes in Fahrenheit 451

Environmental factors influence individuals' decisions throughout their lifetime. In the novel, Fahrenheit 451 written by Ray Bradbury, Guy Montag works as a fireman. In this futuristic society, firemen no longer put out fires but start them, to destroy any remaining books. With such advanced technology, many residents inside this community remain dominated by their technology, causing them to become extremely resistant and unwilling to look into their society's past. Several people greatly influence Guy Montag to change from a conformist to a more open person. Clarisse revealed to Montag the satisfaction of living with an open-mind and individual thinking, while Faber unveiled how to find the significance behind things, and his wife, Mildred exemplified the corruption that lies within their society. Clarrise McClellan influence Montag and empowers him to rethink his decisions.

Clarrise McClellan empowers and changes Montag to make better decisions by pointing out the importance of thinking and acting independently. Clarrise McClellan, a seventeen-year-old girl, thinks individually and observes her surroundings closely, which Montag has never encountered before. Clarrise’s unique ways of thinking allow Montag to develop a curiosity for his surroundings. Every day after work, Clarisse walks home with Montag and allows him to understand her autonomous perspectives. When walking home one day, Clarisse simply asked Montag, “Are you happy?” (10).

Clarisse’s straightforward question allows Montag to realize that he has become unhappy with his job as a fireman, as he has little fulfillment from working. Montag's desire for happiness prompts his curiosity for what books contain, believing that they might bring him happiness. Montag also acknowledges his absence of happiness transpires from the lack of connection between him and his wife, his coworkers and even people throughout his community. Clarisse’s friendship with Montag prompts his ability to think individually and examine the things around him and the emotions provoked, changing his perspective on the restrictive society. Clarisse shows Montag how to think differently, but Clarisse's conversation with Montag can only influence him so far.

Faber teaches Montag how to observe and understand the significance and value behind things, in a valueless society. Faber, a retired liberal arts professor, first meets Montag at a park bench while reading, which remains highly illegal and perilous in this society. Unexpectedly, Faber then reads Montag a poem, stating, “‘I don't talk things sir’ said Faber ‘I talk the meaning of things. I sit here and know I'm alive’” (75). After stealing a book, Montag comes to Faber for help. Faber explains that the object does not hold value itself, but what the object embodies has a value. He then went on to explain how books will not bring happiness, as they are just words; but they allow one to encounter and learn numerous new ideas and should remain safe, instead of burnt to ashes.

Montag realizes that many people live their lives without noticing or appreciating everything around them, making their lives meaningless, but when one takes notice of one’s surroundings, they allow one to appreciate and live a meaningful life. Montag's friendship with Faber allows him to grasp giving appreciation and purpose to everyday activities, which many people neglect to do in this civilization. Faber also shows Montag the importance of books and the effect his job as a fireman has throughout his community, further pushing Montag to resent the life he once believed so fulfilling. While Montag's discussions with Faber influence him, one action truly pushes him over the edge.

Mildred embodies everything Montag tries to forget, and she unintentionally shows Montag the changes needed throughout their civilization. Mildred Montag constantly watches television in her parlor that occupies three walls for numerous hours daily, accepting everything that it reveals to her. After Montag steals a book, he stays home with a fever, where he becomes bothered by the parlor television noise. Yelling to Mildred,“‘Will you turn that parlor off?’ he asked. ‘That's my family’” (48/9), she responds. Mildred considers the actors on her television screen as her true family, even calling them “the relatives”, without acknowledging her husband.

Mildred remains a prime example of how dependent and dehumanized Montag's civilization has become due to technological advances. Like many other people in this society, they only care for their parlor family and possess no emotions for anything else. Montag realizes that no one in his society cares about anything genuine, and they have little significance in their lives. Mildred's lack of authenticity causes the breaking point that prompts Montag to take action by rebelling against his job and society by devising a plan with Faber to keep the books unharmed. He intends to frame the firemen. Montag’s personality has changed from that of a conformist to a much more radical persona over the course of the novel. Montag relies on Clarisse and Faber to help him understand and realize the true parts of his society.

Montag changes greatly through his interactions with Clarisse McClellan, Faber, and his wife, Mildred. Clarrise McClellan's abnormal way of thinking helps Montag realize that his job as a fireman allows him to have very little satisfaction. Clarrise also provokes Montag's curiosity for what books contain, believing that they will bring him happiness. Faber teaches Montag how to recognize the significance and value behind everyday things, allowing Montag to appreciate ordinary activities. Montag's friendship with Faber allows him to understand the importance of books and the effect of his job as a fireman globally. Meanwhile, Mildred has become so dependent and dehumanized through the use of technology, she reminds Montag of all the changes needed throughout their civilization. Montag's relationship with Mildred allows him to realize that no one in his society cares about anything genuine and prompts Montag to take immediate action against his community. Montag changes from a robotic bystander to an original thinker through the help of these influential characters and the atmosphere surrounding him.