Fahrenheit 451

Guy Montag Character Analysis

A fireman and the book's protagonist. As the novel opens, Montag takes pride in burning books and the homes of people who illegally own books. After meeting Clarisse McClellan, however, he begins to face his growing dissatisfaction with his life, his job, his marriage, and the pleasure-seeking, unthinking culture in which he lives. In fact, he has been secretly hoarding books, without actually reading them. After Clarisse's death, he eventually begins to read the books. From that point on, there's no turning back, and Montag begins to take action against his oppressive society.

Guy Montag Quotes in Fahrenheit 451

The Fahrenheit 451 quotes below are all either spoken by Guy Montag or refer to Guy Montag. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
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). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Simon & Schuster edition of Fahrenheit 451 published in 2013.
Part 1 Quotes
It was a pleasure to burn.
Related Characters: Guy Montag (speaker)
Related Symbols: Fire
Page Number: 1
Explanation and Analysis:

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"Are you happy?"
Related Characters: Clarisse McClellan (speaker), Guy Montag
Page Number: 7
Explanation and Analysis:

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"You're not like the others. I've seen a few; I know. When I talk, you look at me. When I said something about the moon, you looked at the moon, last night. The others would never do that."
Related Characters: Clarisse McClellan (speaker), Guy Montag
Page Number: 21
Explanation and Analysis:

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"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."
Related Characters: Clarisse McClellan (speaker), Guy Montag
Page Number: 26
Explanation and Analysis:

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"Speed up the film, Montag, quick... Uh! Bang! Smack! Wallop, Bing, Bong, Boom! Digest-digests, digest-digest-digests. Politics? One column, two sentences, a headline!... Whirl man's mind around about so fast under the pumping hands of publishers, exploiters, broadcasters that the centrifuge flings off all unnecessary, time-wasting thought!"
Related Characters: Captain Beatty (speaker), Guy Montag
Page Number: 52
Explanation and Analysis:

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"Bigger the population, the more minorities. Don't step on the toes of the dog lovers, the cat lovers, doctors, lawyers, merchants, chiefs, Mormons, Baptists, Unitarians, second-generation Chinese, Swedes, Italians, Germans, Texans, Brooklynites, Irishmen, people from Oregon or Mexico. The people in this book, this play, this TV serial are not meant to represent any actual painters, cartographers, mechanics anywhere. The bigger your market, Montag, the less you handle controversy, remember that!... Authors, full of evil thoughts, lock up your typewriters. They did."
Related Characters: Captain Beatty (speaker), Guy Montag
Page Number: 54
Explanation and Analysis:

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"The important thing for you to remember, Montag, is we're the Happiness Boys... you and I and the others. We stand against the small tide of those who want to make everyone unhappy with conflicting theory and thought. We have our fingers in the dike. Hold steady. Don't let the torrent of melancholy and drear philosophy drown our world."
Related Characters: Captain Beatty (speaker), Guy Montag
Page Number: 59
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 2 Quotes
"We have everything we need to be happy, but we aren't happy. Something's missing. I looked around. The only thing I positively knew was gone was the books I'd burned in ten or twelve years. So I thought books might help."
Related Characters: Guy Montag (speaker)
Page Number: 78
Explanation and Analysis:

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He would be Montag-plus-Faber, fire plus water, and then, one day, after everything had mixed and simmered and worked away in silence, there would be neither fire nor water, but wine.
Related Characters: Guy Montag
Page Number: 99
Explanation and Analysis:

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Part 3 Quotes
"Now, Montag, you're a burden. And fire will lift you off my shoulders, clean, quick, sure; nothing to rot later. Antibiotic, aesthetic, practical."
Related Characters: Captain Beatty (speaker), Guy Montag
Related Symbols: Fire
Page Number: 109
Explanation and Analysis:

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Guy Montag Character Timeline in Fahrenheit 451

The timeline below shows where the character Guy Montag appears in Fahrenheit 451. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1
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As the novel begins, Guy Montag is taking an intense pleasure in burning a pile of books on a lawn. It's... (full context)
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As he walks home, Montag encounters a teenage girl standing alone. She introduces herself as Clarisse McClellan, a new neighbor,... (full context)
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...peers do. When she tells him that there's dew on the grass in the morning, Montag suddenly isn't sure if he knew that. When they reach Clarisse's house, all the lights... (full context)
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Montag enters his own house, troubled by Clarisse's parting question. Of course he's happy. But the... (full context)
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...entering the cold, dark silence of his bedroom, which the narrator compares to a tomb, Montag realizes that he is not, in fact, happy. His wife, Mildred, is stretched out as... (full context)
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Montag calls the hospital. Two technicians arrive with machines—one to pump out Mildred's stomach, the other... (full context)
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Montag watches Mildred as color returns to her cheeks. He opens the window across the lawn... (full context)
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...Mildred has no memory of the previous night and denies taking the pills. Later, when Montag gets ready for work, Mildred is in the TV parlor preparing to watch a TV... (full context)
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On his way to work, Montag meets Clarisse again. She is walking in the rain, tasting the raindrops and holding dandelions.... (full context)
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Clarisse tells Montag that she thinks it's strange that he's a fireman, since other firemen won't talk to... (full context)
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After Clarisse leaves, Montag opens his mouth to taste the raindrops while he walks to work. (full context)
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At the fire station, Montag looks in on the "sleeping" Mechanical Hound, a robotic creature that can be programmed to... (full context)
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Upstairs, four firemen are playing cards. Montag complains to Captain Beatty (whose helmet has a phoenix on it) about the Hound's threatening... (full context)
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For the next week, Montag sees Clarisse every day. They have conversations about their friendship, about children, about the smell... (full context)
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Over the same seven-day period, Montag works at the firehouse, sometimes entering through the back door. Someone mentions that a fireman... (full context)
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At the station that day, Montag and the firemen play cards as the radio in the background reports that war may... (full context)
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Montag asks if there once was a time when firemen prevented fires, rather than setting them.... (full context)
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...the house, pile up the books, and pump kerosene into the rooms. While they work, Montag grabs a book and instinctively hides it in his clothing. (full context)
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The woman refuses to leave the building. Montag desperately tries to lead her out, but she won't leave her porch. Kerosene fumes are... (full context)
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Driving back to the firehouse, Montag asks what the woman was reciting when they entered. Beatty knows it by heart. It's... (full context)
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At home that night, Montag hides the book he took from the old woman's house under his pillow. Mildred talks... (full context)
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Montag realizes he's not in love with Mildred anymore. He feels like he's lost her to... (full context)
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Montag mentions to Mildred that he hasn't seen the neighbors in a while and wonders what... (full context)
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The next morning, Montag feels ill and vomits. He's late for work and considers calling in sick. He tells... (full context)
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Once inside, Beatty tells Montag that he anticipated Montag would call in sick. He says that all firemen, at some... (full context)
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As Beatty talks, Mildred starts straightening up the house. She soon discovers the book that Montag hid behind his pillow. When she tries to point out the book to Beatty, Montag... (full context)
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Montag asks about Clarisse, and Beatty reveals that he'd been keeping an eye on the McClellan... (full context)
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Before leaving, Beatty mentions that every fireman eventually feels the urge to read a book. Montag asks what would happen to a fireman who accidentally took a book home. Beatty says... (full context)
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Montag tells Mildred he never wants to work as a fireman again, and shows her a... (full context)
Part 2
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Montag and Mildred spend the afternoon flipping through books, reading passages, and trying to make sense... (full context)
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Montag remembers a retired English professor he met in the park a year ago. The man,... (full context)
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Montag shows Mildred the book he took from the old woman's house: it's a Bible, maybe... (full context)
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Mildred yells at Montag that he's ruining them. Soon, however, she calms down and tells him that her friends... (full context)
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On the subway, Montag feels numb. He remembers a time as a child at the beach when he tried,... (full context)
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Faber is frightened when Montag shows up at his house, but is reassured when Montag shows him the Bible. Faber... (full context)
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Montag says that something is missing from people's lives, and books are the only things he... (full context)
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...the earth, but whom Hercules defeated after lifting him off the ground. He agrees when Montag relays Mildred's contention that TV seems more real than books, but he responds that he... (full context)
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Montag wants to do something, but Faber is reluctant to act. Faber does hypothetically suggest a... (full context)
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Unwilling not to act, Montag rips a page out of the Bible, then another, until Faber's agrees to help. Faber... (full context)
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As Montag takes the subway home, Faber reads to him from the Bible while pleasant announcements that... (full context)
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...Mildred's friends Mrs. Phelps and Mrs. Bowles arrive to watch the White Clown. Faber, through Montag' earpiece, tells him not to do anything and to be patient, but Montag pulls the... (full context)
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Moments later, Montag returns with a book of poetry. Although Faber, through the radio earpiece, begs him not... (full context)
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Montag searches the house for his books. He finds them where Mildred has put them behind... (full context)
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At the firehouse, Montag hands over a book to Beatty, who welcomes him back to work and tosses the... (full context)
Part 3
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As the neighbors come out to watch, Montag glances toward Clarisse's empty house. Beatty notices and mocks Montag for being influenced by her... (full context)
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Beatty orders Montag to destroy his own house with a flamethrower or get hunted down by the Mechanical... (full context)
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Beatty arrests Montag, then mocks him for the foolishness and snobbery that led him to quote poetry to... (full context)
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On one numb and one good leg, Montag hobbles to the backyard, grabs four remaining books, and limps away. He suddenly feels certain... (full context)
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Crossing a street, Montag is nearly run down by what he thinks is a police vehicle but what turns... (full context)
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Montag goes to Faber's house and tells him what happened. Faber feels invigorated for the first... (full context)
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Montag advises Faber on how to eliminate Montag's scent from the house by burning things, wiping... (full context)
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By the time the Hound and the searchlight-equipped helicopters reach the river, Montag is already beyond their reach downstream. As he floats along, he watches the helicopters turn... (full context)
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Montag follows the railroad tracks, feeling more alive and at home in his body. After a... (full context)
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The men around the campfire—a reverend and four academics—ask Montag what he has to offer. He says the Book of Ecclesiastes, though only what he's... (full context)
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...books to a next generation until the people of the cities are ready. Granger wants Montag to understand that they must not feel superior to other people. They consider themselves "dust... (full context)
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As they move downstream, Montag looks at the faces of the men, trying to find a sign of their inner... (full context)
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Suddenly, jets scream overhead on the way to the city. Montag thinks of Mildred, and tells the other men that something must be wrong with him... (full context)
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...The shockwave from the explosion knocks the men down. As he huddles against the ground, Montag thinks of Clarisse, already dead, Faber, on a bus to another annihilated city, and Mildred,... (full context)
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Montag then remembers passages from the Book of Ecclesiastes and recites them to himself. Once the... (full context)
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...build a mirror factory so that everyone can take a long look at themselves. With Montag leading the way, the men head upriver to help the survivors and the destroyed city... (full context)