Fahrenheit 451: How Montag Changed Throughout the Novel

“So it was the hand that started it all… His hands had been infected, and soon it would be his arms… His hands were ravenous.”- Guy Montag. Throughout the book Fahrenheit 451 Montag’s actions, appearance and thoughts have changed drastically. Montag himself is a fireman and has never seen an issue with the way he lives his life or th rules he follows, until one day he meets Clarisse and she opens a whole new light to him.

Montag’s appearance has changed throughout the book from beginning to end, at the beginning when he was cocky, to the end when he was more curious than he was cocky. “At the last moment when disaster seemed positive, he pulled his hand from his pocket and broke his fall by grasping the golden pole.” pg 3

This quote explains how arrogant Montag is with the work he does. After Montag burns books, and houses, he walks with a confidence as he has done the world a favor. The reader can see how overconfident Montag is in the way he walks, describing it as “Walking in a swarm of fireflies.” pg 3 Proving he was proud of his work.

Montag’s actions also progress from beginning to end because in the beginning he is portrayed as a “follower” and more towards the end he is portrayed as a “leader”. “It was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed.” This quote explains Montag’s view point of the work he does, but the reader can see as the book goes on, how Montag’s opinion changes about burning books. As the book progresses, Montag starts to question the authority he is given to burn books after, he and the other firefighters witness a woman kill herself with her books because, she’d rather die than live in a world with no books. That’s when Montag really starts to retaliate against his work.

Montag’s thoughts have transformed from start to finish. In the beginning he thought burning books was right, but his thought process quickly changes as the book transitions. “Do you know why books are so important? Because they have quality, and what does quality mean? To me, it means texture, this book has pores.” This quote from Faber really opened Montag’s eyes, after he realizes each book was written by someone and has some sort of meaning. Montag comes to the conclusion that books aren’t a bad thing and they need them as a society.

Montag is the protagonist and central character of the novel. Throughout the plot, he steadily grows and changes; by the end of the book, he is a completely different person.

Guy Montag a character in the novel Fahrenheit 451, is a changed man. Although it might not be in a positive way, the reader got to witness, step by step how Montag evolved. Whether it was through his marriage, his job or just himself as a whole. Montag is a new person at the end of the novel, who finally has his own view on life.

At the end of the novel, war has begun and a bomb has destroyed Montag’s city. From a distance, the intellectuals watch the flames of destruction and determine they will go back and rebuild a new society, where books and new ideas are not only permitted, but eagerly welcomed. As the novel closes, they are seen walking toward the bombed out ruins to begin their task; the hope of their recreating the city is the one bright spot in the entire novel.

Bradbury uses the symbol of fire to describe much of what is happening to Montag. Like the phoenix that appears often in the novel, Montag’s life is finally purified and reborn by the very fire he has been spewing for years. During the course of the plot, Montag evolves from an apathetic, conformist fireman, the very essence of socially acceptable stagnancy, to a new man filled with strong ideals and beliefs. He has a new purpose in life, to preserve books and the knowledge they contain. At the end of the novel, he hopes for the future and no longer dreads the present.