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Group Reads Discussions 2010 > "Fahrenheit 451" Characters (**SPOILERS ALLOWED**)

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message 1: by stormhawk (new)

stormhawk | 423 comments Who did you find to be the best, the worst, who were you indifferent to, who did you want to bludgeon over the head with a Complete Works of Shakespeare?

message 2: by Ellen (new)

Ellen Bees (Ellen_Bees) | 4 comments I thought it was odd how well-read Captain Beatty was, considering how he was such a keen supporter of book burning. Any thoughts?

message 3: by stormhawk (new)

stormhawk | 423 comments I was interested in that too ... There is an "extras" CD in my audiobook set, which is interviews with Bradbury, one of which is devoted to Captain Beatty. Part of his backstory, not told in the book (because, Bradbury said, Beatty didn't come to him and tell all of this until after F541 was published), included that Beatty was at one point in his life a great lover of books, had thousands upon thousands in his home ... he envisioned a scene in which Montag discovers this, and Beatty tells him, "It's not a crime to HAVE books, dear boy, it's a crime to READ them." There was more to it than that, I think, but I can't recall exactly, and can't listen to the selection again right now because I'm at work.

In my reading, I figured it was a matter of knowing your enemy ... that by the time one had risen to the level of Captain, one had proved oneself sufficiently trustworthy to be allowed exposure to the content of the books. Some Nazi had to read the "Jewish literature" before it was burnt to determine that it was worthy of buring.

message 4: by Mawgojzeta (new)

Mawgojzeta | 175 comments I would have liked to bludgeon Mildred over the head with a Complete Works of Shakespeare. I have no compassion for her at all. She never grows and does not have the spark inside to grow. I know she is depressed, but...

Which, of course means I loved Clarisse. Oh, and that little old lady with all the books...

message 5: by stormhawk (new)

stormhawk | 423 comments I thought Clarisse was quite spunky, and the sort of girl I'd like to hang out with ... Mildred is exactly who I was thinking of when I was brandishing my Complete Works of Shakespeare! They were the complete opposites they were written to be!

One of my favorites is actually Faber, who becomes a character because of an accidental meeting, and while he really doesn't seem to lose his fear of Montag, is actually quite helpful to him ... Montag feeds his bravery, both in the plan to operate a printing press to save the books, but also when he risks his life to help Montag escape.

message 6: by Kaion (last edited Aug 05, 2010 09:03PM) (new)

Kaion (kaionvin) | 37 comments Man, I hated Clarisse. I want to say purity sue? But tvtropes says manic dream pixie girl, and I have to agree.

Granted, this impression may have been inflated by reading Bradbury's really tiresome rant about how he doesn't find arguments claiming his female characterizations in the book are thin of merit.

message 7: by Michelle (new)

Michelle (fireweaver) | 325 comments yeah, Kaion, re thin female characters, that drove me up a wall, too. not so much clarisse, who was more of a spark to an idea than a real character, but all "the wives". I mean, yeah, I know this was written in the 50s, but even in the then-future no women wanted to work outside the home? not one of the roving band of intellectual exiles happens to be female?

the edition I have has the interview you remember, Stormhawk, and yep, that's the gist of it. the captain was apparently a book lover from way back, but then his parents died and love faded, and then books were no longer an escape, so he now hates them. this explanation isn't working for me in the least (don't think there's anything worse in his life than my own, and I still love my books just fine), and it's not explicitly in the text we have. his explanation to montag when he comes to visit the ill fireman did read something like that, though - his love of books peeks out so much in that weird rant I kept expecting him to secretly be in the resistance.

message 8: by Michael (new)

Michael (knowledgelost) I found it interesting that Mildred and Clarisse felt like the complete opposite of each other.

message 9: by stormhawk (new)

stormhawk | 423 comments Do you think Montag was paired with anyone in the same way? Based on your post about Mildred and Clarisse, I started thinking about that. Beatty is the obvious choice, exposed to books, reading books, and staying with the party line, where Montag takes a very different path, ultimately to his own independence.

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