February 2016–Fahrenheit 451 Character Analysis

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Guy Montag
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He is a fireman and the book’s protagonist. He takes pride in burning books and the homes of people who illegally own books. After meeting Clarisse, he begins to face his growing dissatisfaction with his life, his job, his marriage and the pleasure-seeking, unthinking culture in which he lives. In fact, he has been secretly hoarding books, without actually reading them. After Clarisse’s death, he eventually begins to read the books. From that point on, there’s no turning back, and Montag begins to take action against his oppressive society. (www.LitCharts.com)
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Captain Beatty
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Montag’s boss at the fire station. Beatty is a complex character. He has committed to memory many passages of classic literature, and can quote them at will, yet as a fire captain he is devoted to the destruction of intellectual pursuits, artistic efforts, and individual thought. Beatty claims he, like Montag, once became interested in books, but he now endorses instant gratification. Yet Beatty uses his extensive learning to push Montag past the breaking point and goad Montag into killing him. After Montag kills Beatty, Montag becomes unconvinced that Beatty actually wanted to die (thought it’s never clear if this is true). Beatty is an intellectual wearing the uniform of the intellectual’s worst enemy. Perhaps the contradiction is too much for him in the end. (www.LitCharts.com)
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Mildred Montag
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Montag’s wife! She drowns her unhappiness with pills and a constant barrage of media, fast driving and other mindless distractions. The day after attempting suicide she has no memory of the event. She and Montag have lost whatever connection they once had. Mildred is a hollow-person-she doesn’t seem to have a real connection to anyone. Instead, she’s devoted to her interactive TV shows. After Montag brings books home and reads poetry to her friends, she betrays him to the authorities, wanting to preserve her life of instant gratification and comfort. (www.LitCharts.com)
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Faber
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A former English professor who describes himself as a coward because he did not act to try to change the direction in which society was headed. He uses a two-way radio to direct Montag through situations in which he is too frightened to place himself. He provides a counterpoint to Beatty’s arguments against literature and thought. Faber is named after a famous publisher (Faber & Faber) and a brand of pencils. (www.LitCharts.com)
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Clarisse McClellan
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Montag’s teenage neighbor. She is unlike anyone Montag has met before. She has no interest in the violent, thrill-seeking pastimes of her peers. She prefers to walk, engage in conversation, observe the natural world, and observe people. Her questioning, free spirit starts Montag thinking about his own life and his place in society. (www.LitCharts.com)
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Granger
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One of the scholar-outcasts Montag meets on the railroad tracks in the countryside. Unlike Faber, Granger has had the courage to act on his convictions and leave civilization. He and his comrades memorize works of literature, waiting for the day when books will no longer be banned and humanity is ready to learn from its past. (www.LitCharts.com)

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