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Free Study Guide-Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury-Free Online Booknotes
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Professor Faber

Faber was a professor of English before the new laws supplanted the need for literature teachers. Now living by himself, he passes his time recalling the books he has read in the past and tinkering with new inventions. When Montag is desperately in need of a friend and confidante, he thinks about Faber. He recalls that he once saw the old professor hiding something under his shirt, which obviously was a book. As a result, Montag thinks he may find for himself a helper and teacher in Faber.

When Montag first calls on Faber, the old professor is not interested in admitting him. Then he sees the Bible that Montag is carrying, and he cannot resist, for it has been years since he has read a copy of it. Montag begs Faber to help him understand books and give him advice. Once again, Faber is reluctant, saying it is too dangerous; but then he imagines how pleasant it would be to again discuss ideas with someone. In the end, he agrees to help Montag. They talk about how their society has degenerated from a literate one into one totally dependent on mechanical devices. Faber even implants a tiny two-way radio in Montag's ear so the two of them can constantly communicate. Faber plans to recite book passages to Montag while he sleeps, certain that this unconscious receipt of knowledge will be retained.

Faber and Montag begin to plan a revolution against the totalitarian system that will allow no reading materials or independent thoughts. They will plant books in the homes of all the firemen and all the firehouses. Then when all the firemen are destroyed for possessing books, there will no longer be anyone available to burn the printed pages. At first, Faber is not interested in Montag's plan, saying it is ridiculous and dangerous. Then, however, he realizes that it is at least a plan of action and he agrees to help. Faber feels he has been a coward, afraid to fight the system, for too long.

Throughout the rest of the book, Faber is a faithful friend to Montag. Whenever he needs advice or is in trouble, Montag finds that Faber is on the other end of the radio to answer his questions or give him warnings. It is Faber that tells him he must run away after he kills Beatty. And it is Faber who saves Montag's life by guiding him to the exiled intellectuals that give him protection and hope. The old professor is truly a solid support for Montag and an invaluable teacher in Montag's quest for truth.

Clarisse McClellan

Clarisse is a total non-conformist and the seventeen-year-old neighbor of Montag. She is refreshingly different, not afraid to be herself. She believes in old-fashioned values, dreams, and aspirations and talks about the beauty in the smell of a flower or in the soft feel of grass. She is also unafraid to express her ideas and challenges Montag by asking him why he is a fireman, burning books. She also wants to know if he is really a happy man. As a result of her probing questions, Montag begins to examine the ethics of his job and the meaning of his life; he realizes that he truly needs a change. As a result, Clarisse is the catalyst that compels Montag forward in his journey of self- realization.

For Montag, Clarisse is everything that Millie is not, for she thinks, she feels, and she enjoys life. It is not surprising that Montag really likes her and enjoys spending time talking to her. He always looks forward to their next visit. As a result, her sudden disappearance from the world disturbs him greatly; and when he finally learns from his wife that Clarisse has been hit by a car and killed, he is greatly grieved. Montag realizes late in the novel that the hit-and-run accident was probably engineered by Beatty.

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