Her face, turned to him now, was fragile milk crystal with a soft and constant light in it. It was not the hysterical light of electricity but—what? But the strangely comfortable and rare and gently flattering light of the candle.
Montag thinks this about Clarisse the first time he meets her as they walk home together. He is used to the blazing heat of fire, and so is surprised by Clarisse’s soft warmth. This first impression of her shows that, unlike other people Montag knows, Clarisse is more interested in the natural world than fast-paced entertainment.
You laugh when I haven’t been funny and you answer right off. You never stop to think what I’ve asked you.
When Clarisse and Montag first meet, she mentions she heard that firemen used to put out fires instead of set them. When Montag immediately laughs, Clarisse makes this comment to him. Clarisse sets herself apart as someone who does not take things at face value, but actually wonders about things. This first meeting begins to change Montag so that he wonders about things as well.
Bet I know something else you don’t. There’s dew on the grass in the morning.
Clarisse surprises Montag with information about how the size of billboards had to change as cars moved faster, and then surprises him with this information about nature. While it seems obvious to readers, Montag is not sure if he knew this or not. Clarisse’s interest in observing nature contrasts with the little attention Montag and the others pay to the natural world.
I’m antisocial, they say. I don’t mix. It’s so strange. I’m very social indeed. It all depends on what you mean by social, doesn’t it? Social to me means talking to you about things like this.
Clarisse explains to Montag why she does not go to school and needs to see a psychiatrist. In their world, “antisocial” means not being interested in the things other people are interested in, such as television or driving fast. In her analysis Clarisse would be considered social in the original sense of the word, showing that people have lost an understanding of communication and connecting with others.
But Clarisse’s favorite subject wasn’t herself. It was everyone else, and me. She was the first person in a good many years I’ve really liked. She was the first person I can remember who looked straight at me as if I counted.
Montag says this to Mildred while they are reading the books he has hidden in the house. Mildred, her friends, and presumably most others in this world are only interested in themselves or what is on the television. Clarisse, on the other hand, was more interested in learning about other people. Montag learns from his interactions with her how much more satisfying it is to have an actual human connection rather than consuming mindless entertainment.