Fahrenheit 451

by: Ray Bradbury

Protagonist

The protagonist of Fahrenheit 451 is Guy Montag. The novel opens with Montag torching a pile of books, clearly enjoying his work as a fireman, but the pleasure diminishes soon after Clarisse McClellan asks him if he’s happy. In a moment of self-honesty, Montag admits that he is unhappy. This admission marks the beginning of Montag’s transformation, and soon after he realizes his own misery, he begins to see that everyone else is also deeply unhappy. At the same time, Montag grows increasingly curious about the very things he’s supposed to destroy: books. Montag believes books might help him uncover the roots of his society’s problems and forge a new path into the future. However, Montag’s curiosity about books brings him into conflict with his wife, his boss, and society as a whole. Montag persists in his desire to go against the status quo and discover the power of books, which ultimately leads to a confrontation in which he murders Beatty. Now a bona fide rebel, Montag finally escapes to the country, where he joins the ranks of roving intellectuals who seek to preserve the knowledge found in books.