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Fahrenheit 451

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Guy Montag is a fireman in charge of burning books. A gentle young girl named Clarisse

McClellan opens his eyes to the emptiness of his life with her innocently penetrating questions

and peculiar love of people and nature. After his wife Mildred attempts suicide without even

realizing what she is doing, after he witnesses an old woman let herself be burned with her

books, and after he hears that Clarisse has been killed by a speeding car, Montag searches for

solutions to his rising dissatisfaction in a stash of books he has stolen and hidden. He looks to

Mildred for help and support, but she prefers television to her husband's company and cannot

understand why he would want to take the terrible risk of reading books.

Montag remembers an old intellectual named Faber with whom he once talked in the park and

goes to him for help in understanding what he reads. Meanwhile, Beatty, Montag's superior, has

guessed that Montag is experimenting with books and hints that he should turn in the book he

stole from the old woman's library within 24 hours. Faber explains the value of books to Montag,

which lies in their ability to store and communicate meaningful information, something which

their society now lacks. He agrees to help Montag and gives him a two-way radio which fits into

his ear so that he can hear what Montag hears and talk to him secretly. Montag goes home and

finds two of his wife's friends there. Their superficiality angers him, and he shows them a book of

poetry and reads them one of the poems. Mildred tries to explain this away as standard fireman

procedure for proving to people how useless books are, but the women leave quite disturbed and


Montag goes to the fire station and hands over one of his books to Beatty. Beatty browbeats him

with his impressive knowledge of literature and historical quotations, which he uses to support his

argument that books are dangerous and must be destroyed. An alarm comes through, and they

rush off to Montag's own house. Mildred rushes out, and Montag realizes it was she who put in

the alarm. Beatty forces Montag to burn the house himself, and when he is done, he places him

under arrest. Beatty continues to berate Montag, who turns the flamethrower on his superior and

proceeds to burn him to ashes. Montag knocks the other firemen unconscious and begins to run,

when the Mechanical Hound, a monstrous machine which Beatty has set to



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