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Fahrenheit 451: Ray Bradbury
Plot
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Guy Montag is a fireman of ten years. He loves his job and his life. He never questioned why things were the way they were or why he burned homes that contained books for a living. He was very content with his life, until one night he met Clarisse McClellan who was his seventeen year old neighbor. Clarisse was wise beyond her years and told Montag about a time when people sat and took time out of the day to unwind, relax, and admire the world around them. Montag thought this strange because his world was so much different, he didn't think it was possible. She would meet him at the subway exit every night and talk to him. Guy started to wonder why his life was the way it was, why he did burn books for a living, and why books were outlawed. He had a desire to read books to find out why people like the woman that lit her own house on fire would risk their own safety for a few pages of writing. He thought, "There must be something that is worthwhile in books." He had taken a book home from that woman's house and he even had a collection hidden beneath the vent in the living room that he had unknowingly started. Montag decides he wants to find out for himself what books contain after he feels like he doesn't want to be a fireman any longer. He doesn't go to work that day and Captain Beatty comes to talk to him to tell him that he is going through a phase that all fireman go through at some point. When Beatty leaves Montag shows Millie all of the books that have been in the vent for so long. She is appalled by the books and wants him to turn them in for incineration, but he decides to skim through most of them. When Millie invites her friends over to watch television, her one and only passion in her three wall parlor, Montag decides he needs to find reliable help that has knowledge of books. He remembers meeting a man in the park a year ago who was a retired professor by the name of Faber, who knew a great deal about books since he was alive when books were still legal. He calls Faber because he needs to find someone who has more wisdom than himself. He goes to Faber's house, where they come up with a plan to overthrow the existing way of life and reintroduce books. Faber says that he knows a retired printer who could start reproducing the books that Montag has, and Montag says that he will start to plant books in the homes of fireman to discredit the profession, and maybe try to stop it in its tracks. Faber gives Montag a two-way earpiece that allows Faber to hear everything that goes on where Montag is and for him to secretly converse with him. Montag can also talk to Faber with the "green bullet." When Guy arrives home again, Millie's friends were over being screamed at by the parlor walls watching their favorite tv program. The comments they make about the pending war and their husband and families, set Montag over the edge. He unplugs the parlor walls and starts reading poetry to them, while Faber tells him through the earpiece that he is making a bad decision. He follows through with his poetry and Millie's friends leave and threaten to never return to that house again. When the woman return home they put in an alarm about Montag but Captain Beatty already knew that he had books. Montag finally decided then to go to the firehouse, where Captain Beatty was waiting for him with his hand out to receive a book, because he knew that there were books in Montag's house. Little did Guy know, an alarm would soon come in that would be his last. While the firemen were playing cards, an alarm came in and they all loaded up on the salamander, or firetruck, and headed toward their destination. Montag was very quiet and Captain Beatty wore the biggest smile you could imagine. For the first time Montag could remember, Beatty was driving the salamander. They reached their destination and Beatty told Montag that it would be his own personal assignment, and that he would have to burn the building himself with a flame thrower. Montag got out of the truck and realized that they had pulled up in front of his own house. He watched as Millie ran out the front door and completely ignored him and ran to her waiting taxi. After seeing that he wanted nothing to do with her or her emptiness anymore and just wanted to burn down his home and watch the books burn before his eyes. He completed this task and then went back out to the front of the house where Captain Beatty was still taunting him and telling him that there was an electrical hound waiting for him in the neighborhood. He pointed the flame thrower at Beatty and just let it rip, when he saw that he was well done, he moved on to the other two firemen that were in his truck with him. After he killed the two men he started to run which set off the whole city after him. The electrical hound was chasing him through the city with cameras following it so that the parlor walls in everyone's house could be illuminated with the wild chase. Montag decides to stop at Faber's house and tells him to scrub down everything that he touched, even incinerate what he can in the wall incincerator. The war that Millie's friends had been making comments about had not been declared. He also has him give him a suitcase full of his dirtiest clothes so that he can lose his own scent. He does this because the electrical hound is sniffing his scent and following his path. Faber told him to go to the river and follow it until he reaches the old train tracks, so Montag goes to the river, but right before he reaches the river, he peers into a window to see where the hound is right now and he sees that the parlor walls tell everybody to open their front door or look through the window at the count of three so that they could find him, because if everyone looks out at the same time, someone must see him. Montag takes off running toward the river and reaches it just before anyone has the chance to see him. He changes into the clothes that Faber gave to him and then gets into the river and uses the suitcase as a flotation device. He floats south in the river, looking back at the city the whole entire time. He see that the helicopters that had been following the hound had now reached the river, but had turned around very quickly. He figured that the hound had lost his scent and had given up. He reached land a short time later and thought that he saw the hound when he set foot on land, but it was just an animal in the wilderness. He sees a fire burning somewhere in the woods, but he thinks of this fire completely differently than that fire he had known just a short time ago. He never knew before that a fire could give and not just take. When he got to the fire he found five older men who were using the fire to warm themselves. He could hear them talking about a lot of things, but he couldn't make any words out of it. One of the men sitting by the fire, saw him hiding in the trees and told him that it was okay and he was safe with them. They seemed to know his name, but that was because of the coverage of the hound. They switched on their portable tv and showed Montag that the hound had lost his track and turned around. The police wouldn't admit that they couldn't find him so they targeted an innocent victim who was walking the streets which was a rare occurrence and the hound shot him with its needle which killed the man. The tv sounded that they had killed Montag. Shortly after this they started to travel south down the river bank, but before they could get very far they heard a shriek and when they turned around they saw that a bomber flew over the city and dropped a bomb on the city, destroying the whole city. Montag started to remember things at that moment about his life that he couldn't remember a few days ago, he remembered where he and Millie had me and he remembered part of the book of Ecclesiastes, which he could not remember just that day. The group of men decided that since they knew all about the books of the past, they would go to the destroyed city to look for survivors to preach of their knowledge. That is where the book abruptly stops and ends.


Fahrenheit 451
By: Ray Bradbury