Life, Death, and Feeling
Clarisse changed Montag from when they first met, to when he discovered how Clarisse died. Beatty had said, “I must be going. Lecture’s over. I hope I’ve clarified things. The important thing for you to remember, Montag, is we’re the Happiness Boys, the Dixie Duo, you and I and the others.” (65) Montag would never have criticized Beatty’s lecture if had not met Clarisse. After meeting her, Montag was more thoughtful when she was alive, yet angry and extreme when he discovered how she died. Although Clarisse and Montag may seem like an unlikely duo, their contrast helped spark thought and consciousness. Clarisse’s ideas and brief history intrigued Montag, and led him to the brink of insanity over the flaws of society and its people. Clarisse was an integral part of Montag’s transformation. Although Clarisse was necessary in order for Montag undergo his transformation, her life and death were also significant parts of his transformation.
Clarisse helped light a candle within Montag. Her abstract thinking was a great counter to Montag’s very thoughtful mind. When he first met Clarisse, Montag felt like she was examining him because she seemed so deep in thought, “He felt she was walking in a circle about him, turning him end for end, shaking him quietly, and emptying his pockets, without once moving herself.” (10) Montag had never met someone like her before! As a result, he analyzed what she said and what was “between the lines”. After meeting Clarisse, Montag became more aware of what was around him, and also thought about the question posed to him: Are you happy? Following his meeting with Clarisse, Montag also analyzed Mildred, the firemen, and even his own lifestyle. This meeting between him and Clarisse was important to the novel as a whole because all of Montag’s change was based on this one meeting.