Montag is an ordinary citizen who works as a fireman in a dystopian society. It is illegal to keep or read a book in the society, so his job is to burn all onsight. When talking to Clarisse, a 17-year-old on his way home, she asks if he reads the books himself and he replied, "That's against the law!"(5) He took much pride in the job until he met Clarisse when she asked: "Are you happy?"(7) it made him start to question if he really was.
After his brief conversation with Clarisse, he began to question everything. On his duty, he was told to burn down a house that had been found with books. He had thought so much about the conversation that it led him to steal a book. "Montag's had closed like a mouth, crushed the book with wild devotion..."(34) When he had processed the crime he had committed he became shaken. "His hand has done it all, his hand, with a brain of its own with a conscience and a curiosity ...he turned thief."(35)
The guilt of owning a book and going to work and burning them had started to swallow him. His guilt forced him to preetend being sick and staying at home. Captian Beatty came in to check on Montag's condition. After his visit, he became suspicious of Montag's behavior sending a Mechanical Hound to check on him. Mildred cae in and stated a search of his room. "Mildred smoothed the bedclothes. Montag felt his heart jump and jump again..."(52) She finds the book surprised and instead of turning him in she changed the subject.
Montag remembers a man who he once met in the park a year ago, Faber. He called him in hopes of him of being his mentored about books. "Future investigations? Faber name was there. He hadn't turned it in or hadn't erased it...'This is some sort of trap! I can't talk to just anyone on the phone!'"(71)
Because of Faber's mentoring, Montag begins to retaliate against the society going as far as killing Beatty and the Mechanical Hound. Faber killing two highly ranked figures caused attention the the State representatives and forced to go on the run."...Their engines far away, and police sirens were cutting their way across town...Beatty wanted to die...Feet ran in the far end of the alley.'Get up!'"(116)
With the help of Faber, Montag gets a change of clothes and escapes from the police where he discovers a group of people scholars of the society with much knowledge. "You are welcome here"(140)