Montag's Transformation in Fahrenheit 451 Essay

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Granger helps him reconsider the importance of his hands when he tells him it does not matter what you do "long a you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that's like you after you take your hands away" (170). This scene proves noteworthy for Montag because he realizes it is true. He even notes change will "come from our hands and our mouths" (175). Here we see a complete turnaround for Montag as he begins to accept personal responsibility rather than do what the powers that be tell him to do. He finds a sense of self apart from the government machine and he discovers he does not agree with that government. This is a significant stage in Montag's growth because he begins to believe in himself and the others. His fear and his anxiety regarding this transformation are lessening.

Fire is undoubtedly an important symbol in the novel. It represents destruction and, oddly, pleasure. The firemen experience pleasure when they set fire to the books and watch them burn. We read it was a "special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed" (Bradbury 3). Fire made Montag smile a smile that "never went away, as long as he remembered" (4). Here we how the act of burning, destroying, and obeying the government were pleasurable. It was something to look forward to as Montag states, "Monday burn Millay, Wednesday burn Whitman, Friday burn Faulkner, burn 'em to ashes, then burn the ashes" (8). Montag does what is expected of him; he moves without question. It is ironic that the fire that brought him pleasure would lead to a significant stage of his transformation.

In this stage of his metamorphosis, fire becomes a symbol of hope. Later in the novel when Montag is on the run, we see the importance of his change.
He is in a stage of accepting his choices. One scene where this becomes clear is when Montag stands around the fire with Granger and his gang. Montag notes the fire was "not burning. It was warming" (Bradbury 158). Montag did not know fire could be that way and he "had never thought in his life that it could give as well as take. Even its smell was different" (158). The fire is no longer violent and destructive; it brings warmth and comfort. Here we see Montag's comfort with this stage of his transformation. Montag's conversion was from the inside out in this way. Everything he thought and experienced changed. Even his perception of things was different. Because of his proximity to fire at the beginning of the novel, Montag's new approach to fire is compelling.

Montag's transformation in Fahrenheit 451 is remarkable and worth discussing. He learns how society as a whole can become brainwashed. He realizes how easily people can be convinced to do something just because a higher power convinces them it is the right things to do. Individuality was not welcome in this society and it comes at a great price. Montag moves from fireman to fugitive and learns what it actually means to be human. Certain incidents inspire Montag to think outside the constraints of what is considered normal. He discovers a world for the freethinking men and he realizes this is the world to which all must belong. The internal yearning for freedom is one that takes years to suppress and only moments to ignite, as Montag learns. Individuality comes with a price but it one worth paying Montag thinks as he….....

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