Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

By , Clarkston, MI

A little kid steps onto the soccer field very enthusiastic and happy, ready for his first big game. Before his game all he had gone to were practices, and that was where he had learned to value and love the sport. Almost everybody in the world has one thing they value more than anything else, whether it is their family, a sport, a job they are at, or even a simple hobby. Whenever we are around that thing that we value, people always seem to become more happy. In the novel Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury, a man named Montag, whose job was a fireman, but instead of putting out fires he would start them if he found out somebody had books in their possession. He soon meets a girl named Clarisse, who helps make him see the real world and discover that he values books. Once he finds his new liking, he begins to rebel against the societal norm, of no books and everyone being the same person, and become a much happier person.  Ray Bradbury demonstrates through character foil and dialogue, in the book Fahrenheit 451,  that people can only find pure happiness when they truly value something.
At the beginning of the book, in the part titled The Hearth and the Salamander,Ray Bradbury demonstrates through character foil that people only show pure joy when they value their passions. Many people are passionate about at least one thing, and we are always either excited to tell others or we are too scared to show anyone, for they may judge you. Yet, if you are too scared to  show your value, then you are too scared to show your happiness. Montag, the main character, meets a younger girl named Clarisse. She is quirky and thinks outside the box. As the two of them begin to get to know each other, Montag starts comparing her to his wife, Mildred, one who is just like society, who will follow the rules and hates to break them. Soon, Clarisse tells Montag about her love for nature, and how she gets so curious about them, as she is talking about the wilderness, she lights up. Clarisse remarked, “‘Bet I know something else you don't. There's dew on the grass in the morning.' He suddenly couldn't remember if he had known this or not, and it made him quite irritable. 'And if you look'- she nodded at the sky- 'there's a man in the moon.' He hadn't looked for a long time" (Bradbury 9) This quote shows how once Clarisse started talking about nature she started to get more and more happy about showing someone new, Montag, her interest or something she values. Montag had never realized, that there was dew on the grass in the morning or how there's a ‘man on the moon’, because he had fallen into the norm of society. He had gotten into what everyone else was doing because of the influence of his wife, Mildred. Thus, making Montag more curious about Clarisse since she was so out of the box. Mildred was one who hated books, who watches television the whole day, or even votes on a president based on their looks. Just like how Mildred’s foil was Clarisse, Montag had one too, and it was his boss, Captain Beatty. Montag was standing around, thinking about the ventilator grille in the hall at home , and how he was hiding books there. Wondering if anybody knew, even his wife, if the hound would storm his house. While Montag stood motionless Beatty went over and gave him a confused and questioning look.(27) Beatty, another person who is a rule follower, and one who burns books for a passion is Montag’s opposite as he is one who does what he is told with no questions, to burn houses down with books. As Montag began to think about where he was hiding his books, he began to worry, what if the hound find out, he will without a doubt be fired from the job and even killed. Working behind your work’s back is awful, but putting yours and your family’s life at risk is even more scary. The only reason Montag is doing it is because his passion is reading. Without reading Montag would have no idea why people still had books, he would have no feelings or emotions. These two quotes show how without things that you value you would have no true happiness.
Also, in the last section, Burning Bright, Ray Bradbury reveals through dialogue, that people can only find pure happiness and emotion when are actually experiencing things. Whenever we are happy in our life, we tend to remember and live more. Through times of sorrowness, we always want to forget what happened or what we did. Once Montag showed his true happiness, after he escaped his city and found others who had the same value on books as he did, he realized he couldn’t remember his old life. He couldn’t even remember any memories with his wife and himself. As Montag watched his city burn to ashes he exclaimed, ‘“My wife, my wife poor Millie, poor poor Millie. I can’t remember anything….”’ (156) When Montag saw the city burning he thought of his wife, but couldn’t remember anything about her, they way her hands were, the way she felt, he could only picture her just standing there. Thus showing, that Montag never found happiness with his wife, he just lived with her, thinking he loved her. Montag couldn’t find happiness with her because they never shared the same values. As he was welcomed to the new group outside of the city, Granger, the leader came up to Montag and touched his arm, saying, “‘Welcome back from the dead.’” and all Montag did was just nod (150). When Granger mentioned being back from the dead he didn’t mean it literally, but more along the lines that he hasn’t lived yet because he has followed society’s rules and has had no happiness until Montag escaped the city and his unhappiness. Montag and everyone else in the city had never experienced pure happiness because the government never wanted them to, they didn’t want people to think differently than the government wanted them to.  Montag, was ‘dead’ because he had never experienced emotion before, nor did the majority of his city experience it. When you are happy, you will live, remember things, and be more lively as a whole, you can ‘infect’ others with your happiness and cause others to become happy too. Without any value in your life, you are never truly happy.
Overall, the book Fahrenheit 451, establishes through character foil and dialogue, that people can only have pure happiness if they have something they truly value. Without, Montag finding out that he values books, he would’ve never found his true beatitude, left his job and his home, or risk his life for them. Without, anything to value nobody have anything to live for, we would all just be like robots who, eat, sleep, and breathe, always on repeat. We would have no emotions, or show true happiness, let alone seldomness, or anger. Just think, what would a world with no emotion or reason to live be like?






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