How does Montag Feel about his Job in Fahrenheit 451?

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Updated: Sep 03, 2023
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Fahrenheit 451, a book written by Ray Bradbury, is a dystopian novel. It takes place in a society that is very different from ours. Books and other objects that condone knowledge are prohibited. Not only are they prohibited, they are burned, as well as the houses in which knowledgeable objects are found. In this novel, firefighters do not put out fires but light fires. The firefighter’s job is to light any knowledgeable sources on fire. Guy Montag, a firefighter as well as the main character, starts as the protagonist with antagonist traits.

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Guy Montag, at first, is not a round character nor a complete protagonist, but towards the end, he changes the way he sees everything, which influences him to turn against society and appear a full protagonist.

Montag’s Initial Perspective on His Job

Guy Montag is a firefighter who is happy with his job. He gets his job done but never questions why he burns books or thinks twice about his job, even though he has been happily burning books for ten years. The author shows us he has pleasure in seeing things burn as if he were a pyromaniac: ‘It was a pleasure to burn. It was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed.’ He is brainwashed into just getting his job done. Situations in this novel cause him to start wondering and reevaluating his thoughts, as well as becoming very curious about everything around him.

The Catalyst for Change

He shows a small amount of change that had a lot of impact on why he started to change. He was searching for a house with an enormous number of books. When his duty to burn everything had to be done, the owner of the house did not seem to care about her own safety. She wanted to stay and burn alive with the books and did not show a sign of fear; she seemed to have a lot of pride as if she wanted to set an example. Guy Montag is concerned about her safety, and stunned by her decision, Montag grabs her arm and tries to persuade her to leave the area: “You can come with me.” This shows that Montag starts to care about other people’s feelings and wonders how books could mean so much to someone. Montag eventually opens his eyes and realizes he has been being lied to and brainwashed.

Montag’s Transformation and Defiance

He starts to go against his job and the authorities. He even goes to the extent of hiding books he retrieves from criminals behind the grill of a ventilator. At one point in this novel, he starts to read a book he hid aloud to his wife, Mildred, and her friend. This was a mistake because Mildred’s friend turned him in to the authorities. Montag contacts a college professor he met at a park called Faber and goes on the run. The college professor, Faber, gives him directions to leave the Mechanical Hound, which Montag follows.

Conclusion: Montag’s Transformation and Growth

His going against his former job as well as his former society he was living in shows he changed, being completely happy with his job and the society he was in during the beginning of the novel. His thoughts change on books and knowledge. He is no longer the protagonist with the antagonist traits he used to be. He appears as the protagonist by the end of this dystopian novel, changing a lot and becoming almost a completely different person.


  1. Bradbury, R. (1953). Fahrenheit 451. Simon & Schuster.
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How Does Montag Feel About His Job in Fahrenheit 451?. (2023, Sep 03). Retrieved from