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Free Study Guide: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

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FAHRENHEIT 451 BY RAY BRADBURY LESSON PLAN / LITERARY CRITICISM

Montag and Faber plan an escape

Summary

When Montag finally reaches Faber’s house, he is horrified and scared. In contrast, Faber is calm and unafraid; he is resolved to the fact that their rebellion is now inevitable. Faber tells Montag about some intellectual groups that are living in exile; Montag can certainly find refuge with one of these groups. Faber is going to meet with a friend who has a printing press. The books will be reproduced, and ideas will live on.

On television, it is announced that a new Mechanical Hound has been set up to hunt for Montag. To try and throw the Hound off, Montag burns everything he is wearing, and Faber sprays the house with a different scent. Montag then runs toward the river, carrying only a suitcase filled with Faber’s dirty clothes and a bottle of alcohol. As he travels, he listens to the warnings on the radio. All the people have been told to open their doors and look for the fugitive.

As he nears the river, Montag senses that the Hound is in pursuit of him. When he reaches the water, he strips off his clothes and covers himself with alcohol to disguise his scent. The river sweeps him away into the dark of night.

Notes

Montag manages to reach the home of Faber, who is calm in contrast to his friend. He tells Montag about some exiled intellectuals and sends him on his way there. Faber then sets off to see a friend with a printing press in order to reproduce the remaining books. Faber believes that the rebellion begun by Montag must go forward.


The hi-tech advancement in science is again depicted. The Mechanical Hound has been reconstructed, complete with tuning and setting, and is already on Montag’s trail. The radio broadcasts constant warnings for the people to be on the lookout for the fugitive. Montag struggles onward in his race to the river. Bradbury builds great suspense, making the final scene of the book tense and terrifying. Montag’s crippled escape is timed to literary perfection. Just as capture seems inevitable, the protagonist reaches the river, loses his scent, and disappears into the night.


Montag escapes to safety but is “murdered” on television

Summary

The Hound and the helicopters are unable to locate Montag now that he is in the water. Unwilling to admit its own failure, the government comes up with a hoax. When a man is killed, it is announced, complete with pictures, that Montag has been captured and executed. In truth, Montag is floating downstream and thinking about his childhood.

Montag comes ashore at the edge of a forest. He walks along a railroad track until he comes across a group of people around a fire. They are watching the “capture” of Montag on television. They welcome him into their midst and introduce themselves; it is obvious that they are exiled intellectuals. The leader, a man called Granger, says he was once an author; the others are all scholars or well-educated men. Montag feels inferior, but they welcome him as an equal and offer him protection. Montag is given a potion that will change his chemical composition; therefore, the Hound will never be able to find Montag by his scent.

The exiles tell Montag about their plan; each of them is memorizing a book before burning it. By committing the book to memory, it can live on. They believe that in the future, sometime after the imminent war, their oral tradition will once again find its way back onto paper and books will be printed again. In the meantime, they must study and learn their assigned texts. Montag’s assignment is to memorize the Biblical book of Ecclesiastes.

Notes

Through good planning and sheer determination, Montag manages to allude the Hound and the helicopters. He finally leaves the river and comes ashore by a forest. He follows railroad tracks and locates a group of exiled intellectuals. They are listening to a news report on television. The government, not wanting to admit defeat, announces that Montag has been captured and killed.

Montag is astounded at the intelligence of the exiles and believes he is way out of his league. The intellectuals, however, greet him warmly and treat him as an equal; they also give him a potion to change his chemical composition so that the Hound can never locate his scent. The old Montag is now gone forever, both physically and emotionally.

Montag is surprised to learn that the exiles have already begun their own revolution. Each of them is committing a book to memory before burning it. Montag is assigned Ecclesiastes, a book from the Old Testament of the Bible. The plan is for everyone to write the memorized book down again after the impending war is over. They feel confident that books will be published again in the future. Montag is relieved to have a safe haven and know that he and Faber are not alone in their fight.


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