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Fahrenheit 451 Outline

Updated on January 11, 2013

Outline of Fahrenheit 451

Thesis: Throughout the novel, Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury expresses the idea of exile and alienation, stating that one may experience a sudden rift in which their perspective and feelings changes, causing them to feel indifferent and lonely. However, explains that those moments are only temporarily and the rest of the experience felt will be extraordinary and enriching.

I. Guy Montag feels that he is unusual as he becomes frustrated and upset after the long talks with Clarisse McClellan and from the death of the old lady. He starts to become exiled from the community around him.

  • a. “Montag begins to question his life and society and comes to the realization that neither he nor his wife, Mildred are happy. His unhappiness is shown by his hiding of forbidden books, and her unhappiness surfaces in regular attempts to commit suicide” (Reed 3).
  • i. Montag is starting to become emotionally exiled from his community and even from his wife. There is no one that he could depend on and comfort him from his struggles.
  • b. “Behind his mask of conformity, Montag gradually undergoes a change of values. Montag realizes his life has been meaningless without books” (Liukkonen 2).
  • ii. Struggling to learn the true meaning of books, Montag becomes overwhelmed and starts to act unusual around his workers and wife.
  • c. “The theme of separateness and loneliness recurs throughout Bradbury's oeuvre (Liukkonen 6).
  • iii. Montag becomes lonely and unhappy as he has no answers to the questions that he has about the true meaning of burning books and reasons to burning it.

II. Guy Montag becomes exiled by the peers around him – wife, fireman workers, and Clarisse McClellan.

  • a. “Montag’s alienation from a society that has embraced mass culture and thoroughly discouraged individual thinking intensifies. In scene after scene, Montag becomes emotionally alienated from his work, his wife, and the people he works with. As this alienation increases, he reaches out to the books and to the people who value them” (Novels for Students 144).
  • i. Montag feels alone as he has no one to help him understand what the books really is and why the fireman burn books instead of saving them. He uses his frustration against his wife and workers, and therefore seems to be alienating from them.
  • b. “What he thinks about his marriage and wife Mildred, his sense that they have both lost something (which Mildred denies when he tries to talk to her about it), his fear of the Mechanical Hound, his attraction to Clarisse, as well as his childhood memories and perceptions of the men he works with all create a characterization with emotional depth” (Reed 5)
  • ii. Montag realizes that he is becoming different; everything around him feels unusual because he is looking at the world in a whole different perspective due to the books that he has been reading and the explanation from Clarisse McClellan.

III. Guy Montag becomes completely exiled from his community and family, therefore searches for books as he is able to ease his mind and learn incredible things. He has become totally alienated as he chooses to preserve books instead of burning them.

  • a. “He has escaped the alienation of the mechanical society he left behind. Perhaps he will help establish a better one by remembering the words in the book he will commit to memory…” (Novels for Students 144).
  • i. Montag finds peace and happiness as he reads books therefore now instead searches for books. He has become alienated towards the books since Montag experienced a change or rift that caused him to quit his job of burning books.

IV. The enriching experience felt by Montag

  • a. “This view of the universe, in which the opposing or destructive forces meld with the nurturing or creative forces, is a vision that results in Montag's decision to move away from destruction, even destruction for a "good cause," and toward preservation. Described in a deceptively simple style, these perceptions lead him to a new consciousness and a final decision on how he should live his life from this point on” (Watt 4).
  • i. Montag has finally discovered something that he enjoys doing: preserving books. He killed Captain Beatty and betrayed some of his workers in order to do something that he believed was right and better for the well-being.

Conclusion: Montag experiences an extraordinary change that has exiled him from his community, friends and wife. At first, he is faced with more challenges and difficulties as he needs to hid the books that he stole, however, figures out that happiness and peace comes from the book itself. The book being the anecdote to his alienation and exile.

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