Guy Montag
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Guy Montag

Fahrenheit 451

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About Him

Grew Up... in the future, where fun is mandatory and every house has an interactive, 3D television. It may sound ideal, but Montag's world also comes with some steep prices: constant war, an epidemic of violence, and a universal ban on books.   

Living... with his wife, Mildred, in a house with television built into the walls. With endless entertainment at the tip of his fingers, Montag should be perfectly happy – yet, somehow, he's not. As Montag puts it, "Happiness is important. Fun is everything. And yet I kept sitting there saying to myself, I'm not happy, I'm not happy."

Profession... fireman, though that not the kind you likely know. Instead of putting out fires, Montag is paid to start them, with books as his fuel. It's a good job, and Montag is content with it until the day he meets Clarisse McClellan, a strange girl with stranger ideas about books.

Interests... bucking the status quo. Unlike the rest of his society, Montag is uneasy with the mindless entertainment that has replaced books. Television, violence, pornography – all the pursuits that occupy others don't seem to cut it for Montag, who longs for something more meaningful. As he tells Mildred, "We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?"

Relationship Status... married to Mildred, though it's not a happy relationship. Unlike Montag, Mildred is content to live in her cage of television and empty conversation. As Montag's interest in books grows, cracks begin to show in their marriage.

Challenge... resolving his loyalties. On the one hand, Montag is a fireman, paid to burn books. But ever since he met Clarisse, he's begun to take an interest in the contents of the books he burns, going so far to actually keep some of them. It's a dangerous act for anyone im Montag's world, but especially for a fireman.

Personality... intelligent, sensitive, and conflicted. While Montag starts out as a discontent but generally complacent fireman, he becomes increasingly dissatisfied with his society as he discovers the price of a book-free world. And as his old world comes crashing down, Montag begins to turn to books, hoping that – somewhere in their pages – he will find the answers to his burning questions about his society, his life, and himself.

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