Fahrenheit 451


  • Guy Montag is the protagonist and fireman who presents the dystopia through the eyes of a worker loyal to it, a man in conflict about it, and one resolved to be free of it. Through most of the book, Montag lacks knowledge and believes what he hears.
  • Clarisse McClellan walks with Montag on his trips home and is one month short of being a 17-year-old girl.[notes 3][19] She is an unusual sort of person in the bookless, hedonistic society: outgoing, naturally cheerful, unorthodox, and intuitive. She is unpopular among peers and disliked by teachers for asking "why" instead of "how" and focusing on nature rather than on technology. A few days after their first meeting, she disappears without any explanation; Mildred tells Montag (and Captain Beatty confirms) that Clarisse was hit by a speeding car and that her family left following her death. In the afterword of a later edition, Bradbury notes that the film adaptation changed the ending so that Clarisse (who, in the film, is now a 20-year-old school teacher who was fired for being unorthodox) was living with the exiles. Bradbury, far from being displeased by this, was so happy with the new ending that he wrote it into his later stage edition.
  • Mildred "Millie" Montag is Guy Montag's wife. She is addicted to sleeping pills, absorbed in the shallow dramas played on her "parlor walls" (flat-panel televisions), and indifferent to the oppressive society around her. She is described in the book as "thin as a praying mantis from dieting, and her flesh like white bacon." Despite her husband's attempts to break her from the spell society has on her, Mildred continues to be shallow and indifferent. After Montag scares her friends away by reading Dover Beach and unable to live with someone who has been hoarding books, Mildred betrays Montag by reporting him to the firemen and abandoning him.
  • Captain Beatty is Montag's boss. Once an avid reader, he has come to hate books due to their unpleasant content and contradicting facts and opinions. In a scene written years later by Bradbury for the Fahrenheit 451 play, Beatty invites Montag to his house where he shows him walls of books left to molder on their shelves.
  • Stoneman and Black are Montag's coworkers at the firehouse. They do not have a large impact on the story and function to show the reader the contrast between the firemen who obediently do as they're told and someone like Montag, who formerly took pride in his job—subsequently realizing how damaging it is to society.
  • Faber is a former English professor. He has spent years regretting that he did not defend books when he saw the moves to ban them. Montag turns to him for guidance, remembering him from a chance meeting in a park some time earlier. Faber at first refuses to help Montag, and later realizes that he is only trying to learn about books, not destroy them. Bradbury notes in his afterword that Faber is part of the name of a German manufacturer of pencils, Faber-Castell.
  • Mrs. Ann Bowles and Mrs. Clara Phelps are Mildred's friends and representative of the anti-intellectual, hedonistic society presented in the novel. During a social visit to Montag's house, they brag about ignoring the bad things in their lives and have a cavalier attitude towards the upcoming war, their husbands, their children, and politics. Mrs. Phelps has a husband named Pete who was called in to fight in the upcoming war (and believes that he'll be back in a week because of how quick the war will be) and thinks having children serves no purpose other than to ruin lives. Mrs. Bowles is a thrice married, single mother. Her first husband divorced her, her second died in a jet accident, and her third committed suicide by shooting himself in the head. She has two children who do not like or even respect her due to her permissive, often negligent and abusive parenting: Mrs. Bowles brags that her kids beat her up and she's glad that she can hit back. When Montag reads Dover Beach to them, Mrs. Phelps starts crying over how hollow her life is while Mrs. Bowles chastises Montag for reading "silly awful hurting words".
  • Granger is the leader of a group of wandering intellectual exiles who memorize books in order to preserve their contents.

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