By: Ray Bradbury
Life may be confusing to you when your job is to commit arson to any house
that has a book in it. At least that’s the way it was for Guy Montag.
Guy Montag was a fireman and in the future, a firefighters job wasn’t to
stop fires, but it was actually to start them. In the future, books were known
as bad and shameful and if anyone had possession of a book whether it was in
their house or in another person’s house, then the house was to be burned.
Guy was never really sure what was so bad about the books. He never really
knew the reason why he would have to burn down a person’s house when one had
One day the firemen were notified about a woman that had a large supply
of books in her house. When Guy went to commit arson at the house, he slipped
a book into his coat pocket. Over time, Guy began to receive more and more books.
One night, Guy pulled one of the books out from where they were being hidden
and began to read some poems in front of his wife and friends. Because the
possession of books was a great sin, his wife reported him to the firemen. Guy
soon kills 3 fireman, including the chief, and escapes with a professor by the
name of Faber.
Guy and the professor end up together sharing and discussing their love
“Theory hell,” said Montag. “t’s poetry.” (pg. 97)
This is actually what changed Guy’s life. When Guy re-entered the room at
his wife’s party he had a book in his hands. Mrs. Phelps, one of his wife’s
friends asked him if he was reading up on fireman theory. He was so frustrated
with her because of her expression of false views that night about war, husbands
and children that he finally spilled it. He wanted her to understand that books
were a good thing and that they could teach you to be more objective towards
society and its beliefs.
“Do you ever read any of the books you burn?” (pg. 8)
Because of this conversation with Clarrise McClellan, his 17 year old next
door neighbor, he realizes that he doesn’t even understand that the job he is
doing is right or wrong. This conversation makes him think about what books
really have to offer and that is why he decides to slip a book into his pocket
during one of the arsons.