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A Burning Desire

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Essay title: A Burning Desire

“How like a mirror, too, her face. Impossible; for how many people did you know who refracted your own light to you?”(11). She was different, and difference was a hard thing to come by. In Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, Montag lives in a world where everyone is just as lonely and brainwashed as he is, until he met her. Through the character of Clarisse, Montag finds true love and curiosity. He questions conformity and seeks freedom. Her character gives him the bravery to fight ignorance and find justice.

Her differences attract Montag. Clarisse behaves as an individual and refuses to conform to the ways of society. Montag’s society centers its main focus on technology, causing all of its followers to waste away in their caves they call home. It seems that whenever Montag converses with Clarisse, they are outside. In our society nature usually represents peace or relaxation, but it can also be harsh and unforgiving which is how Clarisse’s spirit is: free and brutally honest. It is not often that one sees someone so mature, yet so young, in Montag’s society. Her teachers disapprove of her: “I’m antisocial they say. I don’t mix.”(29). She would rather befriend a stranger than waste time talking about the useless “fluff” that the country seems to obsess over. Clarisse likes watching people to figure them out; the society likes watching people die and takes pleasure in hurting other people. Therefore, she and her peers do not mix too well: “I’m afraid of them and they don’t like me because I’m afraid”(30). Despite her hardships, her willingness to continue and her cheerful charm is what intrigues Montag the most.

With a complex character like Clarisse entering in his life, her ways make Montag question his beliefs and his trust in the ways of his society. As his relationship with Mildred seems to wisp away into nothingness, Montag ponders over if he really loves her. It really shows when Clarisse plays a silly child’s game with Montag to see if he is in love or not. When he receives the answer �no’ he is confirming what he has been denying for a while. “I am, very much in love!’ He tried to conjure up a face to fit the words, but there was no face.”(22). Montag has struggled for a while with the fact that he and his wife do not have anything in common and they both can not even remember how they met. Deep down, he knows that Mildred is just a little puppy in their society, following all of society’s commands and there is no possible way he could love her fully. Reading the books has made him realize that in a relationship people are supposed to love each other, not act as if they don’t exist. Montag also starts looking at his job as a firefighter from a different point of view. Using Clarisse’s eyes, it’s as if he flipped on a light switch. The books teach him what really matters, so why would he burn them? He starts to see through the foggy mist he calls his job to the real fire of the blazing problem in his society. He questions that it was not always like it is now. He even starts to steal books instead of burning them: the ultimate betrayal. He was finally starting to understand why Clarisse did what she did. Now that Montag is on the other side, he feels the need to rebel.

Clarisse causes him to act and her death only drives Montag further into his plan of corrupting society and �fixing’ it in his mind. After Montag witnesses a woman dying just to stand up for what she believes in, he is awestruck at why she did it. Without even thinking, almost subconsciously, he takes his first book. “Montag had done nothing. His hand had done it all, his hand, with a brain of its own, with a conscience and a curiosity in each trembling finger, had turned thief”(27). Montag had done nothing; his subconscious had done it all. Bradbury talks about Montag’s hands a lot because he wants to show that Montag’s subconscious has known all this time what the truth is, and knows what it must do, even if Montag doesn’t. In a feud between Beatty and Montag, Montag reaches his boiling point and ends up killing Beatty with fire. Beatty still gets the last word though. However, the conversation between Montag and

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