Guy Montag takes an intense pleasure in burning books. It's his job—he's a fireman. He loves the way things look when they burn and the way he feels when he burns them.
Montag’s society has abandoned books in favor of automatic entertainment and instant gratification. At the beginning of the novel, Montag, like everyone else, disdains what he does not understand, and by burning books he creates a spectacle that pleases the frightened masses. He has a position of respect in his society, and Clarisse’s lack of respect or fear of his authority is one of the ways in which she first distinguishes herself from the general population.
Clarisse is extremely inquisitive and thoughtful, and she irritates Montag at first because she challenges his most deeply ingrained beliefs with her innocent questioning. In a society where reading, driving slowly, and walking outside for any length of time are outlawed and a candid conversation is a rare and suspicious event, Clarisse’s gentle love of nature and people is truly peculiar. She is forced to go to a psychiatrist for strange behaviors such as hiking, catching butterflies, and thinking independently.