Montags Change from a fireman to Rebel
In Fahrenheit 451, the dystopian novel by Ray Bradbury, Guy Montag was a Fireman, in their current society books are banned and Montag's job was to burn them. While walking home one day he met a strange girl. She started asking him questions. He's surprised at first, but he answers. Later, she ends up asking if he is happy. At first he replies back “Of course I'm happy” (10). Then after arriving home, he thinks more about the question and comes to the conclusion that maybe his society isn't as perfect as it sought to be. In the beginning, Guy Montag was naive to their restrictive society, but after Clarisse's death and stealing a book from Mrs Blake, he becomes defiant of his society's way of burning books and letting society control them which develops the theme of restriction of knowledge in their society.
At the start, Montag was vicious and dangerous; he loves burning books. Montag was different from most people. He doesn't just accept society burning books. He does it, and he enjoys it. For instance on page 1, “It was a pleasure to burn. It was special to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed” (1). He loves watching things burn, especially books, and participates in society’s sadistic ways. He goes to work everyday to burn books. To illustrate, Montag and the other firemen's slogan is “Monday burn Millay, Wednesday Whitman, Friday Faulkner, burn 'em to ashes, then burn the ashes” (6). Yet, in the road of trials Montag’s viewpoint is altered. Montag was sick for the first time, and his wife Mildred informs him that his close friend, Clarisse has died. Montag was shocked. He gets frustrated that Mildred didn't tell him sooner, but she shrugs and brushes it off. One effect of Clarisse's death was that he immediately felt empty and sad. She was the only one he knew that understood him. Later, Captain Beatty comes over to talk to Montag. He says that the poor girl was better off dead because she always asks why and she wasn't happy, This made Montag mad, but he didn't say anything. Overall, Clarissse’s death made Montag determined to keep fighting for what he believes in.
Another motive for Montag to reject his society was when he steals the book from Mrs. Blake. For example, when he was about to burn Mrs. Blake's and her books, he was thinking, “You weren't hurting anyone, you were only hurting things! And since things couldn't really be hurt, since they feel nothing, they can't scream or whimper, as this woman might scream and cry out, there was nothing to tease your conscience later¨ (34). He then realizes that he burns the books because he's told to, no longer because he enjoys it. This also shows Montag having sympathy for the woman, and he thinks, if someone would die for books, there has to be something inspirational in them. As a result, Montag ends up stealing one even though it's illegal. After seeing the woman burned alive, he feels sick but wants to read the book because she did so much to protect them. After Montag steals the book, he realizes that now he could be arrested. Montag immediately questions if he should quit his job. Now he realizes he's not happy, he doesn't like burning books, and he was just doing what he was told like the rest of society. He asks his wife, “Mildred how would it be if, well, maybe I quit my job for a while?” (48). Montag quickly starts feeling defiant and rebellious. When he takes the book, Montag feels like there was no going back. To sum up, Montag is determined to read the book and find justice for Mrs. Blake and others who were killed for owning books.
Throughout his life, Montag was content with his society, but when he takes action and steals a book, he feels he has to keep going, and when his friend Clarisse dies it fuels his urge to keep fighting he feels he has to find if he was happy and after he takes the book he wants to fight for books and find people who understand him. These were parts of the road of trials where Montag rejects his society. There are helicopters and cars everywhere hunting for Montag. In the future, Montag will probably continue rebelling and hide in the woods with the hoboes. Overall this shows how Montag rejects his twisted society and comes to realize that it was controlling and limiting knowledge so people will be naively content.