Conflict in Fahrenheit 451: the Evolution of Montag’s Character

Exclusively available on PapersOwl
Updated: Aug 24, 2023
Cite this
Date added
Pages:  3
Order Original Essay

How it works


Ray Bradbury died on June 5, 2012. He wrote many great books, including Fahrenheit 451. The title of this book holds great significance to the central idea of the story because 451 degrees is the temperature at which paper supposedly burns. Montag is the main character in this book, and he soon realizes there are many corruptions within the world that surround him. As the book progresses, Montag connects with a man named Faber, who tells him three things are missing from the world.

Need a custom essay on the same topic?
Give us your paper requirements, choose a writer and we’ll deliver the highest-quality essay!
Order now

“Number one, as I said: quality of information. Number two: leisure to digest it. And number three: the right to carry out actions based on what we learn from the interaction of the first two.” ( Bradbury, pg. 84-85 )


The Clashes of Belief and Reality

Montag begins to understand the true meaning of quality when he meets Clarisse. “Bet I know something else you don’t.” ( Bradbury, pg. 9 ). She is very different from anyone he has ever known; she perceives the world in a different way than everyone else. Clarisse tries to show Montag the quality of life by teaching him to appreciate the little things. For example, she taught him how to tell if you’re in love by rubbing a dandelion on the end of your nose or what rain tastes like. Then, when he witnesses the woman kill herself over the freedom to own and read books, Montag begins to realize books must hold something of great quality if people are willing to sacrifice their lives for them. The death of the woman changes something in Montag, and he sneaks a book from her house, where he takes it home and reads it. Before the incident with the woman, Montag thought he loved his job and was doing the right thing by burning, but now we know he understands the quality of the books and wants to make a change. When he isn’t able to understand anything about the books, he heads out in search of someone who can teach him.

The Revelation of Quality and Leisure

Montag discovers leisure when he is finally able to obtain usable knowledge from books he has read, all thanks to Faber. Faber agrees to teach Montag how to retain information from the things he reads by telling him when the time comes; he can call on his memory to recite the information. Montag is then forced to run and leave the city because he has been discovered and is now considered a criminal. He finds himself floating down a river, and he is completely relaxed, allowing his mind to process the events that have just happened between that time and now. Montag thinks about everything he left behind and what he was progressing towards. “The river was very real; it held him comfortably and gave him the time at last, the leisure, to consider this month, this year, and a lifetime of years.” ( Bradbury, pg. 142 ) When he exits the river, he knows what he must do.

Montag first takes action when he reads the poem aloud to Millie’s friends when they come over to listen to the parlor walls, making one of them cry. He is then caught with the books, and he takes action, deciding to kill Beatty to save Faber from being discovered. Montag then escaped using the river. When he exits the river, he is ready to take his quality and leisure and put them into action. He knows there are groups of outcasts and refugees in the woods surrounding him, and he sets out to find them. Once he finds the group of men he is searching for, they tell him the war is on the verge of happening, and they need to be ready to take action and help rebuild the society once it happens. “Montag began walking and after a moment found that the others had fallen in behind him.” ( Bradbury, pg. 164 )


Montag learns quality, leisure, and the ability to act through the social battles he faces and the challenges he has to overcome. Montage faces moral conflict; he’s a fireman, but he realizes he doesn’t want to burn books. “… he knew why he must never burn again in his life.” ( Bradbury pg. 141 ) Throughout the book, Montag realizes that burning is wrong, and if he doesn’t step in to help, it won’t ever change. Once the war wipes out the city, Montag is ready to take action because he finds the quality and leisure to stand behind his actions.


  1. Smith, Jane. “Dystopian Themes in Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.” Journal of Literature Studies, vol. 30, no. 2, 2018, pp. 45-62.
The deadline is too short to read someone else's essay
Hire a verified expert to write you a 100% Plagiarism-Free paper

Cite this page

Conflict in Fahrenheit 451: The Evolution of Montag's Character. (2023, Aug 24). Retrieved from