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Guy Montag is the protagonist in Ray Bradbury's dystopian 1953 novel Fahrenheit 451. He is depicted living in a futuristic town where he works as a fireman whose job is to cause fires as opposed to putting them out and to burn books.

Contents

Montag's role in the storyline

At the opening of the novel, he is happy in his work destroying books and sending book hoarders to mental hospitals and never wonders about his role as a tool of thought suppression. Several events cause him to question his existence:

  • First, he meets 17 year old Clarisse McClellan while walking home from work. His talks with her are thought-provoking and assuage Montag's loneliness. Her death spurs him into becoming a radical.
  • Second, he discovers his wife, who prefers television and radio to human interaction, has overdosed on sleeping pills. The callous behavior of the paramedics makes him feel very alienated, while his wife's emptiness disturbs and angers him.
  • Third, he has a call to go to a house owned by an old woman who, rather than be led out of the house before it is burned, decides to set the fire herself, and burn alive.
  • Fourth, he remembers a chance meeting he had one year previously with an old man in the park, who is later identified as an English professor. Montag, who has secretly been hiding books in his own house, eventually makes contact with Faber.

Over the course of the novel, Montag becomes increasingly disillusioned with the hedonistic and unthinking belligerent society around him. Bradbury emphasizes that the U.S. government, in burning books, is merely expressing the will of a people whose short, mouse-like attention spans, indifference, and hedonism have gradually eroded any semblance of intellectualism from public life. Schools no longer teach the humanities, children are casually violent, and adults are constantly distracted by "seashells" (small audio devices resembling earbuds) and insipid television programs displayed on wall-sized screens. Authors and readers are regarded as ridiculously pretentious and dangerous to the well-being of society.

After an incident where Montag tries to read a poem to his wife's friends when they are visiting, his wife denounces their house as book-possessing, and disappears from the novel. Montag's fire chief, Beatty, tries to persuade him that books are evil, and urges him to return to the unthinking fireman mentality, but Montag refuses, and sets Beatty and the whole house on fire.

He becomes a fugitive, pursued by a Mechanical Hound, a robotic dog with the intent of killing him. He escapes into a river, and joins a group of former professors and writers outside the city, living as hobos. They memorize books, with the intent of having them written down one day when the world has come to its senses. Montag asks to travel with them, and is accepted. The book ends with Montag and the intellectuals heading north, while jet bombers obliterate the city. (It was mentioned that a war was started earlier in the book.)

Historical notes

Other notes

Guy Montag is featured in the real time strategy game StarCraft as Gui Montag, a Terran Firebat hero.[2]

References

  1. ^ Bradbury, Ray. Afterword. Fahrenheit 451: The 50th Anniversary Edition. By Ray Bradbury. New York: Ballantine Books, 1987. 173. Print.
  2. ^ Gui Montag on the Starcraft Wiki







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