My first
impression of this novel is that it will be filled with social commentary and
deal with the issue of free speech (and the ability to think).  It seems to focus on a future rich with
technological advancements and the dangers that might result.  I enjoyed this reading because it served as a
strong introduction to the story.  It
clearly introduces the characters and it’s easy to feel and instant kinship
with Clarisse.  Although she presents
herself as “17 and insane” she appears to be the only person thus far capable
of forming an original thought.  Montag
appears to have the potential to be a dynamic character.  The change is already apparent in him within
the first 18 pages.  There wasn’t
anything that confused me but I was surprised by Montag’s response to
Clarisse’s rebellious spirit.  As someone
devoted to duty and service, and above all the law, it seems he would have been
put off by her forwardness.

I question
why someone like Montag, with the innate desire for conversation and thought,
might marry Mildred.  I wonder if this is
a society of prearranged marriages or if it was before he desired thought.  I also wonder what transpired between Montag
and the “old man”.  It seemed to be a
pivotal point in his life, but what happened? 
I can only assume he rattled him in the same way that Clarisse is doing,
but perhaps not to the same extent.

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“How rarely
did other people’s faces take of you and throw back to you your own expression,
your own innermost trembling thought.” This line shows Montag’s desperation.  He has craved the understanding  of another human being, without even knowing
it.  He has finally found someone who
mirrors his own desires, someone who wants to talk, someone who wants to be
themselves.  This is terrifying to
him.  Seeing himself so raw in another’s
eyes is an intimate experience, strengthening this growing bond with Clarisse.

I find the
character of Clarisse to be the most relatable, and I would assume that most
freethinking women (and men) would share that opinion.  She represents the curiosity that is in all
of us.  Although not a popular opinion, I
can also relate to Montag.  As a society,
we often go along with what is easy and unfortunately assume “someone else”
will handle all the problems of the world rather than do it ourselves.  Montag’s newfound awareness about the minute
details of the world around him correlate with a person today finally looking
up from their cellphone to appreciate what surrounds them.  The dangers of unhindered technological
growth remind me a lot of “Black Mirror”. 
Each episode has its own unique theme told through the lens of extreme
tech advancements.  This story will
obviously  be dealing with the concept of
free speech/thought, and censorship, while also relying on the tech heavy
future to get the message across.

The most
obvious contrast that I see is that between Guy and Clarisse.  She represents everything he does not.  He not only follows the law, but enforces it,
while she questions the way things are; something that he has never done.  Another contrast I see is between Guy and his
wife Mildred, done through the use of symbolism.  Guy is a fireman, and when we first meet him
he is in the midst of flames.  Fire can
be passion, heat, anger, etc… his burning desire for more in his life.  His wife, however, is first introduced within
a water metaphor.  She floats on waves,
they rock her to sleep, etc… demonstrating her passive nature.  Water can represent peace, calm, tranquility,
all showing that she has accepted her place (and maybe she feels helpless in
it, hence her suicide attempt).

The fact
that this story was written during the Cold War provides a lot of insight into
its characters and the dystopia that has been created.  Everyone in the U.S. was living under the
constant threat of nuclear war and assumed that the end could come at any
point.  The world created in “Fahrenheit
451” seems to be the aftermath of the disastrous fallout.  People are spoon fed information, not allowed
to read, not encouraged to write, and limited in a variety of other ways as
well.  All of this being characteristic
of the U.S.S.R at the time.  In addition,
the huge tech booms in the 1950’s seem to have inspired the dependence on
gadgets and constant entertainment that is prevalent in this story up until
this point.