Guy Montag in Fahrenheit 451: Character Analysis & Quotes

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  • 0:04 Finding Himself
  • 0:25 Fireman
  • 1:06 Husband
  • 1:47 Anarchist
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

In 'Fahrenheit 451' by Ray Bradbury, Guy Montag is having an identity crisis. He has spent his entire life dreaming of the life he has, only to find out it is not enough. In this lesson, we will follow his search for more.

Finding Himself

Have you ever stopped to consider how many versions of yourself exist? There is the person you hope to be, the person other people want you to be, and the person you are. Guy Montag, the protagonist in Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, struggles with reconciling himself in his roles as a fireman and husband, when he feels so strongly that the authority figures around him have missed the mark.

As a boy, Montag dreamed of being a fireman.


Guy Montag had never considered being anything but a fireman.

''Was I given a choice? My grandfather and father were firemen. In my sleep, I ran after them.''

He has always enjoyed burning things and watching them change, but for some reason Montag is beginning to feel unsatisfied with his life. He doesn't like knowing that children are afraid of firemen because they burn down houses that contain books. Clarisse, his teenage neighbor, asks questions that make him wonder if burning down houses containing books has always been what firemen have done. He is disturbed when people who react to having their homes burned down are put into mental institutions, or martyred by burning with their books. Montag is beginning to wonder if this is the life for him.


Montag's wife, Mildred, overdoses on sleeping pills at the beginning of the first part of the story. After being revived, she doesn't remember taking the pills and claims she is happy. Montag tries to please Mildred by purchasing television walls, but she doesn't seem to care if she breaks them financially by continuing to add walls they can't afford. Neither Montag nor Mildred can even remember how they met; they simply coexist in the same home. Montag believes that if he died, Mildred would not care. Montag tries to connect with Mildred to find meaning in the world and in their relationship, but when he tries to talk to her about something meaningful, she says,

''I'm tired of listening to this junk.''

Eventually, Mildred turns him in and leaves him.


Desperate for someone to talk to and someone who understands him, Montag seeks out people outside of his family and the firehouse. The first person he connects with is Clarisse. They talk and ponder things because neither of them is very interested in the meaningless entertainment that pervades their society. After Clarisse is hit by a car and killed, Montag seeks meaning in books, but they are hard to understand.

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