Fahrenheit 451

As the story opens, what are the forces acting upon the protagonist, Montag, and what other forces help Montag in the recognition of his dilemma?

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Montag does not have meaning in his life. Society has become an endless series of superficial memories based on nothing but consumption and escape. Montag doesn't begin to ponder his unhappiness until he speaks with his young neighbor Clarisse. She simple asks Montag, "Are you Happy". Montag muses about this and goes home to his wife who is trying to swallow a bottle of pills. Clarisse, however, is Montag's awakening.