Fahrenheit 451 was set during the 24th century, a few hundred years into the future. According to the exposition dump earlier in the book, since the 1990s, the world has had two atomic wars, and everyone is on edge because they fear that another war will occur soon. The main setting is based in and around an unnamed city that is most likely located in the United States. The main character of the story is a man named Montag who lives in a dark empty house, just like most of the other inhabitants of the city. Everyone and everything appears to be surrounded by technology, which causes Montag to feel a little uneasy.
In the beginning of the novel; or the introduction, we are introduced to our protagonist Guy Montag (a fireman), Mildred Montag (Guy’s wife), and Clarisse McClellan. In the book a fireman’s job is to burn up all of the things that can cause unhappiness, namely books that are listed by the government to cause this unhappiness. In this society, the government can sense anything that can cause either unhappiness and freedom, and they then proceed to either stop or destroy any evidence of it. The people of this country are molded to be happy, but it is not a true happiness that they can experience. Guy Montag has a tendency to question the way that the government solves problems; and he doesn’t feel that they have the correct way of dealing with them. Montag constantly disagrees with his fire captain, Beatty, on many of these issues.
The main rising action of this book occurs when Montag is asked by Clarisse if he is truly happy in the world. Montag comes home one day to find that his wife had overdosed on sleeping pills, and this realization that he has made makes him extremely unhappy. His wife does survive, but she doesn’t seem to like the life that she is living. Montag learns about the books that he is sent to burn up because they cause unhappiness. A woman is later burnt alive in her house because she refused to give her books up to the fireman, and they set her house on fire hoping she would get out? but she doesn’t. All of this grief leads up to the climax of the novel where Montag and the rest of his fire crew are called to burn a home. When they get to the house they are supposed to be burning, Montag recognizes it as his own. Montag’s wife turned him in as a criminal due to his studying of books. The fire chief Beatty says that Montag must be put to death, but as he is attacked by a mechanical hound, he fights back and manages to overtake the beast.
The falling actions begin to occur immediately after Montag is sentenced to death. He takes refuge at a friends house, and his friend tells him that the city is too dangerous and that it is out to get him. Montag soon moves to a safe house that is outside of the city where he meets fellow book lovers. Not long after a war starts up, and the entire city ends up being burnt to the ground. This group of book lovers venture into the city and survey all that had been destroyed marking the resolution in the story. They end up deciding to rebuild the town and correct society’s past mistakes.
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