Dryden Essay Of Dramatic Poesy Sparknotes Fahrenheit

Guy Montag -  A third-generation fireman who suddenly realizes the emptiness of his life and starts to search for meaning in the books he is supposed to be burning. Though he is sometimes rash and has a hard time thinking for himself, he is determined to break free from the oppression of ignorance. He quickly forms unusually strong attachments with anyone who seems receptive to true friendship. His biggest regret in life is not having a better relationship with his wife.

Read an in-depth analysis of Guy Montag.

Mildred Montag -  Montag’s brittle, sickly looking wife. She is obsessed with watching television and refuses to engage in frank conversation with her husband about their marriage or her feelings. Her suicide attempt, which she refuses even to acknowledge, clearly indicates that she harbors a great deal of pain. Small-minded and childish, Mildred does not understand her husband and apparently has no desire to do so.

Read an in-depth analysis of Mildred Montag.

Captain Beatty -  The captain of Montag’s fire department. Although he is himself extremely well-read, paradoxically he hates books and people who insist on reading them. He is cunning and devious, and so perceptive that he appears to read Montag’s thoughts.

Read an in-depth analysis of Captain Beatty.

Professor Faber -  A retired English professor whom Montag encountered a year before the book opens. Faber still possesses a few precious books and aches to have more. He readily admits that the current state of society is due to the cowardice of people like himself, who would not speak out against book burning when they still could have stopped it. He berates himself for being a coward, but he shows himself capable of acts that require great courage and place him in considerable danger.

Read an in-depth analysis of Professor Faber.

Clarisse McClellan -  A beautiful seventeen-year-old who introduces Montag to the world’s potential for beauty and meaning with her gentle innocence and curiosity. She is an outcast from society because of her odd habits, which include hiking, playing with flowers, and asking questions, but she and her (equally odd) family seem genuinely happy with themselves and each other.

Granger -  The leader of the “Book People,” the group of hobo intellectuals Montag finds in the country. Granger is intelligent, patient, and confident in the strength of the human spirit. He is committed to preserving literature through the current Dark Age.

Mrs. Phelps -  One of Mildred’s vapid friends. She is emotionally disconnected from her life, appearing unconcerned when her third husband is sent off to war. Yet she breaks down crying when Montag reads her a poem, revealing suppressed feelings and sensibilities.

Mrs. Bowles -  One of Mildred’s friends. Like Mrs. Phelps, she does not seem to care deeply about her own miserable life, which includes one divorce, one husband killed in an accident, one husband who commits suicide, and two children who hate her. Both of Mildred’s friends are represented as typical specimens of their society.

Stoneman and Black -  Two firemen who work with Montag. They share the lean, shadowed look common to all firemen and go about their jobs unquestioningly.

From after leaving Faber’s through the death of the fake Montag

Summary

Montag is able to watch the Hound track him by glancing through people’s house windows into their TV parlors. Literally everybody is watching the televised chase. Montag sees the Hound hesitate when it gets to Faber’s house, but it quickly runs on. As Montag continues to run toward the river, he hears an announcement on his Seashell radio telling everyone to get up and look out their doors and windows for him on the count of ten. He reaches the river just as the announcer counts to ten and all the doors in the neighborhood start to open. To keep the Hound from picking up his scent, he wades into the river and drifts away with the current. He avoids the searchlights of the police helicopters, and then sees them turn and fly away. He washes ashore in the countryside. Stepping out of the river, he is overwhelmed by the sights, sounds, and smells of nature. He finds the railroad track and follows it. As he walks, he senses strongly that Clarisse once walked there, too.

The track leads him to a fire with five men sitting around it. The leader of the men sees him in the shadows and invites him to join them, introducing himself as Granger. Granger reveals a portable TV set and tells him that they have been watching the chase and expecting him to come. The men at the fire, though homeless, are surprisingly neat and clean, and have considerable technology. Granger gives Montag a bottle of colorless fluid to drink and explains that it will change the chemical index of his perspiration so the Hound will not be able to find him. Granger tells him the search has continued in the opposite direction and that the police will be looking for a scapegoat to save themselves from the humiliation of losing their prey. The men gather around the TV to watch as the camera zooms in on a man walking down the street, smoking a cigarette. The announcer identifies this man as Montag. The Hound appears and pounces on him, and the announcer declares that Montag is dead and a crime against society has been avenged. The homeless men reflect that the police probably chose the man to be their scapegoat because of his habit of walking by himself—clearly a dangerous and antisocial habit.

Analysis

The sun burnt every day. It burnt Time . . . Time was busy burning the years and the people anyway, without any help from him. So if he burnt things with the firemen and the sun burnt Time, that meant that everything burnt!

(See Important Quotations Explained)

Bradbury uses several devices to heighten the tension of the chase sequence, including the use of dramatic pauses (such as when the Hound pauses on Faber’s lawn), the description of the Hound’s progress from Montag’s perspective, and the countdown to the “look-out” in which everybody is to open their doors. This latter device effectively pits the entire city against Montag and creates a definite time factor (as opposed to the progress of the Hound, which is an undetermined distance away from Montag). Montag has to make an effort to remember that he is not watching a fictional drama but his own life unfolding on twenty million TV screens.

Montag leaves the frightening unreality of the city, which he thinks of as a stage of actors and a séance of ghosts, and enters the world of the countryside, which feels equally unreal to him because of its newness. Drifting peacefully down the river into darkness, Montag finally experiences the quiet and freedom that he needs to think.

Montag considers the moon, which in turn reminds him of the sun and then of fire. He concludes that the sun actually burns time, scorching away the years and all the people on the planet. This is a puzzling statement, but it means simply that time, represented by the rising and setting of the sun, will inevitably destroy people and everything they have worked for. He realizes that if he continues to burn things as he has all his life, everything worthwhile will be destroyed even more quickly. He begins to think of his life as having a different purpose, of using his life to preserve rather than destroy. Soon after he has these thoughts, he sees the flame that the hobos warm their hands over. For the first time in his life, he discovers that fire can sustain life as well as destroy it.

As he contemplates the silence of the countryside, Montag’s thoughts turn to Mildred. He realizes she would not be able to tolerate the silence and is saddened at the thought. In contrast, Montag feels increasingly comfortable in the presence of nature, becoming “fully aware of his entire body.” He no longer feels that his mind, hands, and blood are separate entities, as he did in the city. Montag becomes a whole person for the first time.

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