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The People in Montag's Life Changed His Outlook on the World in Fahrenheit 451

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The People in Montag's Life Changed his Outlook on the World in Fahrenheit 451

Have you ever had your entire world change almost instantly? Have you ever realized something that you never knew before and suddenly everything is different? This is exactly what happened to Guy Montag in Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. Fahrenheit 451 is set in an altered future where the government controls its citizens through propaganda. The government keeps things from the people and even changes the way that they view history to keep the people happy and make them easier to control. Guy Montag realized that the way his society lived life was meaningless and he wanted to change that. In Fahrenheit 451, the people in Montag’s life give him a new outlook on life and changed the way that he acted: Mildred shows him how self-centred and individually driven everyone in their society is; Clarisse shows him that he and the rest of society, are truly not happy and opens him up to a totally new way of thinking; and Faber educates Montag and offers him advice about his new approach to life and lessons to help him live that life. The people in Montag’s life changed or provoked his new way of thinking and allowed him to see the world for what it truly is. Fahrenheit 451 includes a few lessons that Bradbury wants to teach us. He teaches us that the people in our lives can greatly influence how we act and think and what defines us as people. It also teaches us that things aren’t always as they seem and sometimes you have to look in depth to find the truth.

To start, in Fahrenheit 451 Mildred shows Montag how lost their society is by showing him that the entire society has a self-centered and individual way of thinking and that no one is truly happy: Mildred shows Montag that she only thinks of herself and will only do things that benefit her; Mildred shows Montag that she does not care about anyone except for herself and does not care about things that do not relate to her; and because of Mildred Montag realizes that their society is collectively unhappy and that everyone is miserable with their life. Firstly, Mildred shows Montag that she only thinks of herself and does not care about anything that does not affect her, he then realizes that everyone else in their society acts the same way. She is extremely indoctrinated into society which is clear by her constant use of the wall-TVs and her self-centered way of thinking. “How long you figure before we get the fourth wall torn out and the fourth wall-TV put in? It’s only two thousand dollars. [...] And I should think you'd consider me sometimes” (Bradbury 17). Mildred only cares about things that affect her and only wants to do things that benefit her. “It’s only two thousand dollars” showcases her greed and individual way of thinking because two thousand dollars is one third of Montag’s annual salary and since that does not concern her she does not care. After Montag realizes that Mildred is very self centered he starts to notice it in the rest of society as well. Secondly, Mildred shows Montag how little she cares about other people and that she only does things to help herself. She does not care about Montag’s feelings because they do not affect her and she never wants to talk to him or do things with him that do not benefit her. “She’s nothing to me; she shouldn’t have had those books” (45) When Montag opens up to Mildred about the old woman Mildred does not try to console him and insults the old woman because she had books. The old woman did not matter to Mildred, all that she was doing was affecting Montag from going to work. When Mildred says “she’s nothing to me” it is because she wants Montag to stop stressing over the old woman and is discouraging him from thinking about her so that he will go to work. Lastly, by living with Mildred Montag realizes that she is not actually happy with her life and that makes him realize that the lives that they live right now are meaningless and don’t have a point. Many people in their society attempt to overdose on sleeping pills. “People swallow overdoses of sleeping pills so often that paramedics go from home to home pumping stomachs” (Lenhoff 1). People attempting to overdose on sleeping pills show that as a whole the society is collectively not happy. Since the paramedics have to “go from home to home pumping stomachs” a lot of people in the society are clearly not happy. Lastly, when Mildred tried to overdose on sleeping pills she showed Montag that though she appeared happy all of the time she subconsciously was not. After Montag realized that the society that he lived in was not what he thought that it was he began to his outlook on his world. In conclusion, Mildred was able to show Montag how lost their change society is as a whole by showcasing how individual everyone is and showing the general lack of happiness in their society. Mildred shows Montag that she only considers herself and her own benefits and that the rest of society does the same, she shows him that her and the rest of society do not care about anything that does not somehow affect them, and she helped Montag realize that their society is extremely unhappy and that they all live meaningless and unfulfilling lives.

Next is Clarisse, Montag’s 17 year old next door neighbour. In Fahrenheit 451 Clarisse shows Montag that he does not truly find happiness in his life and that he can have more in life than just the same routine that ultimately does not give him meaning: Clarisse helps Montag realize that he is not actually happy with his life; she was an example to him of how the government was trying to control and manipulate people; and Clarisse opens Montag up to the idea of thinking creatively and shows him that it is ok to ask questions and act differently than what is expected of you. Firstly, Clarisse showed Montag that he was not truly happy with his life. Through talking to Clarisse Montag realized that his life did not truly have meaning and that even though he thought that he was happy he was not. She made him realize that there was more to life than what he wa experiencing and this made him extremely upset. “If it rubs off, it means I’m in love.”... “It doesn’t show” “ I am very much in love!” He tried to conjure up a face to fit the words, but there was no face. “I am!”(18-19). After Clarisse suggested that Montag was not in love because “It doesn’t show” he began to realize that she was right and he did not really love his wife. After realizing this Montag became extremely depressed and went out looking for ways to give his life meaning and to make him happy, which is how he began to read books. Secondly, Clarisse was an example to Montag of how the government wanted to control everyone and monitored people who did not act normal. Clarisse did not act like a normal kid: she did not



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