How Clarisse Changes Montag
People love to talk about themselves. Generally, they are fascinated by who they are and what they do. Yet, in Fahrenheit 451, as Montag says, “Clarisse’s favorite subject wasn’t herself. It was everyone else and me.” This suggests that Montag recognizes in Clarisse a unique individual, someone who genuinely cares about other people. It is this characteristic selflessness that attracts Montag to her and helps him recognize that there is more to his dystopic world than television and empty entertainment. Clarisse, therefore, is a catalyst that helps Montag change his opinion about himself in this world and causes him to re-assess the value of books.
When they first meet, Clarisse impresses Montag with her inner peace and knowledge. She represents a carefree spirit who sees the world in a very different light. Her happiness comes from her love of people and nature. Life at home for Clarisse consists of a family that talks, laughs and spends time together. This contrasts sharply with Montag’s home life which is mostly about viewing television in silence. Clarisse also is sensitive to nature and she is prepared to allow a simple dandelion to hold her attention and become a topic of conversation. For Montag, this opens up a whole new world of possibilities while at the same raising questions about his own purpose in life.
Clarisse gives Montag cause to question his world and to see it in a different light. She encourages him to think outside the box. When she questions the value of his work as a firemen, Montag is put in a position where he distrusts his own role in this society. Her wisdom is beyond her years and it is obvious that it comes from both her love of conversation and from books, the very object that Montag must destroy. He is compelled to rethink the value of books and their usefulness.
After Montag meets Clarisse, he begins to change. When he compares his life to hers, he recognizes how empty his has been. By...