Plot Overview of “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury

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  1. A brief summary of the book
  2. An overview of the contents to be discussed in the text

Main Body

  1. Exposition
  2. Conflict
  3. Rising Action
  4. Book Climax
  5. Falling Action
  6. Resolution


  1. An overview of the content discussed in the text
  2. Brief comments


The book mentioned above is a fictional novel that explores a dystopian world where the people are forbidden from reading books and assessing any form of knowledgeable material. The story revolves around the protagonist who is known as Montag. He is a fireman who is at first proud of his job that involves burning the books that are confiscated from the people. The protagonist transforms gradually and at last, he joins a rebel group that does not support the ideologies of the referenced society where reading is illegal. At last, the dystopian novel sends with the city that the protagonist lives being destroyed by atomic bombs. This text explores the plot overview in this novel using the Freytag pyramid elements of exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.

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As mentioned earlier, the novel is set in a dystopian world where books are forbidden. The firemen are tasked with burning books rather than their usual role of putting out fires. The protagonist in the story is named Montag and at first, he is a proud fireman who does not see anything wrong with the society until he meets and befriends a teenager by the name of Clarisse McClellan. Unlike Montag, she is aware of the circumstances under which they live in and she becomes the main catalyst through which Montag reviews his career and life as a whole. In one instance, she asks him if he is happy with the life he lives and at this point, Montag evaluates himself and discovers that he is unhappy.


While undergoing his normal duties as a fireman, Montag witnesses an old lady who chooses to commit suicide and burn together with her books rather than let the firemen take away the books. Driven by curiosity, he takes a book from her house and due to the fact that it is against the law to have books, he hides it under his pillow. This spans his journey of redemption from the ideologies of his society as the incident involving the woman who commits suicide disturbs him greatly. He cannot seem to settle down and relax after this incident as he keeps on replaying the horrific death of the old woman and the deep love she had for her books (Bradbury, 125).

Rising Action

The incident does not go unnoticed as the captain of the department; Beatty discovers that Montag has stolen a book judging from Montag’s refusal to go to work the next morning. Thus, Beatty lectures Montag and tries to show him the disadvantages of reading books and how important it is to get rid of them. It seems like Captain Beatty is well aware of books and reading as he knows plenty about them. Thus, he gives Montag one day to read the book so that Montag can find for himself the fact that books are not useful and they do not have any significant knowledge. Montag finds Faber, a former English professor to help him understand the book and 20 others that he had stolen through the years. Faber becomes his mentor in his quest to read books and acquire knowledge and they use a Radio device invented by Faber himself to constantly communicate with each other (Bradbury, 118).


One day, Montag returns home and finds his wife and two of her friends sitting idly watching Television and talking about useless stuff. Montag is angered by this as he cannot understand their lack of awareness on the issues that are facing their society at that moment including the possibility of an atomic warfare. This prompts him to start a discussion with the three of them ignoring Faber’s objection to the idea. He ends up reading a poetry book to them and in the process; his wife’s friends get emotional and start to cry (Bradbury, 31). After they leave, Montag answers his fireman’s alarm but he is shocked to find out that it was his house that was going to be burned as his wife had reported him to the authorities.

Falling Action

When the firemen come, Captain Beatty instructs Montag to burn his books. However, Montag cannot hear any of this and instead, he sprays the flamethrower at the Captain and kills him. This prompts Montag to flee the city where he wanders along the railroad tracks and bumps into homeless intellectuals (Bradbury, 138). Seeing that they are intellectuals who are also rebellious against the norms of the society, Montag joins them.


These intellectuals start to teach Montag how to memorize texts from books as they hope that one day, it will be possible to reproduce the written works. Hence, they all hoped that a time will come when the society would allow the existence of written books again. Montag and his newfound colleges hear jets flying over them and an atomic bomb is dropped on the city by one of the jets totally destroying it. At this instant, Montag and other intellectuals pan how they will get back to the destroyed city to rebuild a society that was literate and interested in books and knowledge.


As seen from the text, the plot of the novel flows smoothly and it can be broken down to the five elements of the Freytag pyramid. Exposition is seen at the beginning when the originally ignorant protagonist meets and befriends Clarisse, an enlightened teenager. The conflict in the story comes up when Montag witnesses the suicide of an old woman who refuse to part with her books, which prompts him to steal one of her book. Later, his actions are discovered from which he rising action is built up resulting in a climax where Montag reads a book to his wife and her friends after which his wife shockingly tells on him. The falling action comes up when the protagonist has to flee the city after he kills the Captain with the resolution evident from the point he and his newfound intellectual colleagues plan how they will rebuild a literate society after the city is destroyed by atomic weapons.

Works Cited

Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. Simon & Schuster , 1997. Print.

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Plot Overview of "Fahrenheit 451" by Ray Bradbury. (2019, Apr 10). Retrieved February 3, 2023 , from

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