Montag has gone his entire life not questioning the way his society is. He seems to think he knows the right of everything. His world is right and his job is an important and a fine one . “Monday burn Millay, Wednesday Whitman, Friday Faulkner, burn’em to ashes, then burn the ashes.”(6) In this stage of Montag's character he’s proud and “happy”. “ Of course I’m happy. What does she think? I’m not?...” He assures himself he’s happy because why wouldn’t he be. Montag also doesn’t question “You laugh when I haven’t been funny and you answer right off. You never stop to think what I’ve asked you.”(6) Clarisse calls him out on this but he laughs because of course he already knows why wouldn’t he? Why would he think? Montag is a sure and happy fireman.
Stage 1: The Introduction of Montag
Stage 2: Montag Influence by Clarisse
After his second talk with Clarisse, Montag starts to really think about all his actions and everything going around him. While before he never did he just went along with the flow and didn’t doubt. Clarisse is in a way showing him how to have his own thoughts and how to stop and think and question why certain things occur. “Did you look at the stretched-out billboards like I told you? I think so. Yes.”(26). Or with the burning books “There must be something in books, things we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning; there must be something there. You don’t stay for nothing.”(48). He wonders why if books are ban and are supposedly bad this women was willing and did die with them. Montag is not so sure anymore about everything.
Stage 3: Montag Grows Sick
After the burning of the women Montag literally gets sick to his stomach thinking of the women who got burned and over the book he took from the fire. “I can’t call him. I can’t tell him I’m sick. Why? Because you’re afraid, he thought.”(48). He feels guilty over it and doesn’t want go back to work. If it were up to him he would never go back to work. But Beatty comes looking for him and knows about it even though Montag has never told him. ”We don’t get over anxious or mad. We let the the fireman keep the book twenty-four hours. If he hasn’t burned it by then, we simply come burn it for him. If he hasn’t burned it by then, we simply come burn it for him.”(59). Questioning and thinking about books he finally comes out to his wife about the books and his collection of them for over a year now. So Montag the fireman is a curious one.
Stage 4: Montag Becomes A Student
In this stage afters Montag’s talk with Beatty ,which doesn’t really help at all, it actually makes him want to learn more and pay close attention to his surroundings. This is when Montag than starts to seek guidance from Faber an old man he had met in the park about a year ago. “We have everything we need to be happy, but we aren’t happy. Something’s missing. I looked around. The only thing I positively knew was gone was when the books I’d burned in ten or twelve years”(78). He wants to know more and seek to understand how books are apart of the society but aren’t and Faber can help with that. “This book can undergo the microscope. You’d find life under the glass, streaming past in infinite profusion. The more pores, the more truthfully recorded details of life per square inch you can get on a sheet of paper, the more ‘literary’ you are”(79).
Stage 5: Montag Rebels
Montag and Faber have devised a plan to get books back in to do something about it. He has become much more confident in his actions and is not afraid to take a stand. With Faber by his side (in his ear) he is starting to fight back. We see his break down with Mildred’s friends and him ending up reading a poem to them and telling them off about the kinds of conversations that they have. His eyes are finally open. “Did you hear them, did you hear these monsters? Oh God, the way they jabber about people and their own children and themselves and the way they talk….”(94). This confidence leads him on to fight against Beatty and do away with him. “Beatty, he thought, you’re not a problem now. You always said, don’t face a problem, burn it. Well, now I’ve done both. Goodbye, Captain”(115). Now he’s on to fight the rest and seek what is needed.
Montag has been on the run from the mechanical hound and basically from the whole city. His goal is to reach the river and once he does that he’ll have a chance of getting through it all. Once Montag reached the river he has an utter sensation of peace and tranquility. He believes that from here it can all go forward but in a different way in a way that he has yet to experience but wants to. He wants to truly make sense of the important aspects in life and not the ones he thought were important. He begins to realize how in his society everything is noise, noise, and noise, he wants to be a different man now out there. “And if the men were silent it was because there was everything to think about and much to remember”(157). In such a short period of time Montag has evolved into a new man.