Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury
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Key Questions and Answers

Summary Key Questions and Answers

10) How does meeting Clarisse affect Montag?

Before Montag meets Clarisse, he is described as having a “fierce grin of all men singed and driven back by flame.” Like the other firemen, Montag’s greatest pleasure in life is burning books; he believes he’s happy with his job, marriage, and day-to-day routine. However, after Clarisse asks him if he is happy, Montag feels “his smile slide away, melt, fold over and down on itself . . . [h]e was not happy. He was not happy. He said the words to himself. He recognized this as the true state of affairs.” Clarisse awakens something inside of Montag that he didn’t know was there—a hunger, an emptiness, a longing for something real and meaningful. Montag grinned before he met Clarisse, but that early grin was an expression of ignorance and power, not an expression of true happiness.