Fahrenheit 451

How does the group of men that Montag meets in the woods treat him?

Part III Section 2

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Montag escapes to a local river, floats downstream and meets a group of older men who, to Montag's astonishment, have memorized entire books, preserving them orally until the law against books is overturned. They completely understand Montag's plight and motivations. They treat him with respect and even reverence.

The men that Montag meets on the tracks, led by Granger, are the antithesis of those he left behind in the city. They are educated men who love and revere books, rather than burning them. Their camp fire serves as a beacon of light for Montag to follow, representing warmth and safety rather than the destruction he is used to.

When the man set up to look like Montag is killed, it is symbolic not only of the dishonesty perpetuated by society, but of the death of Montag the fireman. Having completed his metamorphosis, Montag is a new person. Thus, when Granger says, "welcome back from the dead," he is actually welcoming the new Montag to a life of thinking and awareness, as opposed to the illusion of happy existence he had previously known.