Study Guide Questions – Fahrenheit 451, part 1

What do the “firemen” do for a living? Why is this ironic? They burn houses which is ironic because originally a fireman’s mission was to put out fires.
In the opening scene, why are the books compared to birds? The books are compared to birds because as the books are burning, they take “flight” to that of birds/pigeons that are nuisances.
According to pages 3-4, what does Montag think of his job? Montag thinks his job is entertaining and he enjoys what he does, so in all he loves his job.
Who does Montag meet on his way home? He meets Clarisse McClellan, a 17 year old girl, who knows awfully a lot more than what is expected of their society.
During his conversations, Montag says that ” You never wash it off completely” referring to the kerosene. What could this mean symbolically? This could mean that once you burn something important like books, you can’t exactly shake off the feelings after you’ve done it as it is the guilt of burning books and the houses that contain them.
Why do you think that Bradbury would introduce Clarisse before Montag’s wife, Mildred? It is probably because Clarisse will be of more importance in the story and to show the differences in personalities of the two of them.
Why does Mildred need help when Montag gets home? Mildred needs help because she overdosed on sleeping pills and was completely passed out.
Describe the help that Mildred receives. Two men hook up tubes that pump her stomach and extracts the pills as well as pumps new blood.
Is there anything unusual about the way the two men go about helping Mildred? How is it unusual? They are very impersonal about the ordeal. The men say this happens often and that the two aren’t necessarily doctors but just operators.
How is life in Montag’s house very different from that of Clarisse’s house? In Montag’s house, Mildred and Guy hardly ever talk or communicate in any way. Mildred is always in the “parlor” and Guy is often at work. At Clarisse’s house, she and her family often talk and discuss things.
How does Mildred react after she wakes up from her previous night’s experience? Mildred doesn’t remember what had happened and feels as if she is having a hangover.
What does Mildred do all day? Mildred watches TV or listens to her music from her earpieces (seashells).
Describe the setup of Montag’s TV room? There are four walls with a TV except for one that is just a plain wall.
What is Clarisse doing when Montag sees her on page 21? Clarisse is speaking to her uncle.
How is Clarisse different than Mildred? Clarisse is different from Mildred because she has thoughts about the world for what it really is unlike Mildred who doesn’t really care.
What is the mechanical hound and what is its purpose? The mechanical hound is an eight-legged spider/dog and its purpose is to track down and find people who find books that is trained like an assassin.
What is the hound’s reaction to Montag? The hound doesn’t like Montag and acts coldly toward Montag.
Why does society consider Clarisse “anti-social”? Society considers Clarisse “anti-social” because she thinks differently and doesn’t speak of the “normal” things in their society.
At the next fire, what does Montag take? Montag takes the books and hides them.
On page 40, Beatty reveals something very important about himself and his knowledge. What is it? Beatty knows information that is contained in books, indicating he has probably read books before.
What technology does Mildred use to go to sleep? Mildred uses earpieces/seashells.
Who is Mildred’s “family?” Her “family” are the people at the parlor.
What has happened to Clarisse? How did it happen? She was hit by a car and killed.
What is unusual about the way Mildred told Montag about Clarisse? Mildred didn’t show much remorse over the death of Clarisse and it was as if she was content with the death.
What is Fahrenheit 451? Fahrenheit symbolizes that at 451 degrees is when paper burns.

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