Sunday, August 29, 2010

CHARACTERS


Characters in Fahrenheit 451 include Guy Montag, Clarisse, Mildred, Captain Beatty, the Mysterious Old Woman, Faber, Granger and other intellectuals and Mildred's friends - Mrs Bowles and Mrs Phelps.
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Guy Montag is the protagonist for the novel Fahrenheit 451. He is a fireman who makes his living by burning books and the houses where they are illegally kept. He has been working the same job for close to 30 years. He has never questioned his happiness until Clarisse asked him, "Are you happy?". That question sparked his thoughts and since then he started to think and go against the norm of the society. He realizes that the world is wasting away because people live only to be entertained. He forms unusually strong relations with anyone who seems positive to true friendship thus Montag turns to Professor Faber, a man of books who Montag met once long ago, for guidance in his quest for knowledge. A few characteristic traits about is that he is BRAVE, LOYAL and RECKLESS

Montag is COURAGEOUS because:

-He was brave enough to keep the book that he
was supposed to burn at the old woman's house and even showed it to Mildred.


-When he could not commuinicate with Mildred about his ideas, he went to seek help from Faber. He is brave in the sense that
he decided to look for Faber, somebody whom he only met once. For the purpose of
finding out the truth, he is brave enough to disregard any
chance of being caught owning books and collaborating with a
non-conformist
.


-He is also brave as he dares to read a book to
Mildred's friends
. He knew that Mrs Bowles and Mrs Phelps are conformist
and would not support the idea of reading books, yet he wants to give it a try, despite the risk.


-He dared to defy the ways of a firemen of the
society.


Montag is LOYAL because:


-In order to protect Faber, he killed Beatty and the Mechanical Hound. "We'll trace
this and drop in on your friend"
Beatty had threatened to seek out Faber
when he found out about the freen capsule in Montag's ear. "He twitched the
safety catch on the flame thrower."


Montag is RECKLESS because:
-He did not think carefully about what he was
doing or planning to do. He wanted to plant books in the firemen's houses but he
did not think about the danger of it or whether it will succeed. "Plant the
books, turn in an alarm, and see the firemen's houses burn, is that what you
mean?"


-He also did not consider the consequences of
reading the poem 'Dover Beach' to Mrs Bowles and Mrs Phelps.


---

Clarisse McClellan is an unusual young girl who lives next door to Montag. A seventeen-year-old she is, she influences montag into discovering the beauty of the world. She is an outcast from society because of her odd habits, which include hiking, playing with flowers, and asking questions. However, her family and herself seem happy with themselves and each other. She inspires Montag to ponder over his life, asking him if he is happy with what he does. Clarisse is a non-conformist, she expresses herself. She is also the catalyst that aids Montag in his search for himself. She is BRAVE.

Clarissa McClellan is COURAGEOUS because:
-She dared to talk to Guy Montag although she knew from his pungent
kerosene scent that he was a fireman. She says that she is not scared of
firemen.

-She is a non-conformist and she does not have to hide it. Her
non-conformity is shown in the things she do, such as playing with flowers and
asking questions. When people in the Fahrenheit 451 society question "What?",
she questions "Why?".
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Mildred (Millie) is the protagonist's wife, the one major character in the book who seems to have no hope of resolving the conflicts within herself. She is obsessed with watching television and refuses to be in a conversation with her husband about their marriage or her feelings. Her suicide attempt, clearly indicates that she suffers a great deal of pain. Narrow-minded and childish, Mildred does not understand her husband and apparently has no purpose in doing so. Her suicide attempt suggests that she is in great pain and that her obsession with television is a means to avoid confronting her life. Eventually, Mildred is overwhelmed by her husband's discovery and dedication to books, reports his illegal activity and flees the house. She is a flat character.
Mildred is not COURAGEOUS because:
- She is a conformist and she is afraid of going
against the law
. This can be seen when she reports Montag's possesion of
books to the firemen. She does not seem to mind the fact that Montag is her own
husband and that her house was going to be burnt down; She just did not want to
go against the laws and get into trouble.


-She is aware of the state of the society, and how unhappy everything is.
Instead of facing up to her problems, she does not have to do so and instead
takes the easy way out - commit suicide. Which is why she gulped down a alot of
sleeping pills just so she could die and escape from her unhappiness.
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Captain Beatty is the captain of Montag's fire department and also the antagonist of the story. Although he is himself extremely well-read, he hates books and people who insist on reading them. He is cunning and so perceptive that he appears to read Montag's thoughts. Beatty is a ruond/complex character, because he is not what he appears to be at first sight; He is full of contradictions. He demonstrates vast literary knowledge in his arguments against the presence of books in society. Beatty often antagonistically lectures Montag, trying to prevent him from succumbing to the appeal of books. Beatty is CRUEL, RATIONAL and a CONFORMIST.


Beatty is CRUEL because:
-At old woman's house; did not bother if the woman burnt to death "Beatty flicked his finger to spark the kerosene."

-There were hints dropped that he might be involved in Clarisse's death. If
not, kill other non-conformists "We know how to nip most of them in the bud,
early."


Beatty is RATIONAL because:
-He used propaganda instead of force; He brainwashed Montag and make him
felt guilty, so that he confesses. "If he hasn't burned it by then, we
simply come burn it for him" "had a dream of you and I, Montag having debates on
books, yelling quotes at me"


Beatty is a CONFORMIST because:
-He is the Chief fire officer, thus he must be staunch supporter of
totalitarian system.

-He believes deeply in conformity "books say nothing" "we must all be
alike" - Stronly believes in eliminating all books to enforce law, at any cost
E.g.: Killing of old woman. "The world can get by just fine without
books."
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The Mysterious Old Woman is one of the victims, who chooses to burn herself to death among her treasured possessions rather than surrending her books and saving herself; She is a martyr. Montag is unable to forget the image of the old woman, and wonders what in books could possibly inspire so much passion.
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Faber is a retired English professor whom Montag met in a park long ago. He still possesses a few precious books and desires to have more. He would not speak out against book burning when they still could have stopped it. Faber feels it is safer to live discreetly rather than protest or attempt to change the world. He tries to help Montag think independently and at other times he tries to dominate him. Similarly, he can be cowardly and heroic by turns. He blames himself for being a coward, but he later on shows great courage in his acts.
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Granger is the leader of the “Book People,” the group of intellectuals Montag finds in the country. Granger is intelligent, patient, and confident in the strength of the human spirit. He is committed to uphold literature through the current Dark Age.
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Mildred's friends: Mrs Bowles and Mrs Phelps are also conformists, just like Mildred.

Mrs Phelps is emotionally seperated from her life, being unconcerned when her third husband is sent off to war. Yet she breaks down crying when Montag reads her a poem, 'Dover Beach', revealing suppressed feelings.

Mrs Bowles, like Mrs Phelps, she does not seem to care deeply about her own miserable life, which includes one divorce, one husband killed in an accident, one husband who commits suicide, and two children who hate her. Both of Mildred's friends are conformists.
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