Fahrenheit 451 Characters Analysis Essay
Montag is agile, dynamic and explicit in his behavior while Faber is subtle and calculative. However, it is clear that Montag is inherently reckless and, as a result, needs a mentor to steer him to the right path. Based on his conduct, it also appears that Montag has not achieved self-actualization. His behavior suggests that he neither understands himself nor the people around him, hence his vulnerability to all forms of external influence. This is why when he encounters Clarisse McClellan he develops a strong attachment to her (Bradbury 28). Although Clarisse is only 17 years old, Montag thinks that she understands him better than his wife and would prefer to spend time with her than his wife. Faber, on the other hand, is an informed, experienced, and intelligent man whose only fault (according to him) is his inclination towards inaction. He is a former English professor who regrets not acting when books were being banned and burned (Bradbury 21). As a result, he sees Montag as an agent with which he can redeem himself.
By assisting Montag to find himself and understand that the society in which he lives is hypocritical and callous in its treatment of books, he hopes to correct his earlier mistakes. This objective is facilitated by the fact that while Montag is practical (probably due to his career as a fireman), Faber is engrossed with theoretical interpretations (Bradbury 41). In this regard, it could be said that both characters need each other to redeem themselves. Montag needs the intelligence and experience possessed by Faber while Faber values Montag for his insight into the workings of his organization if he is to stop the burning of books.
While Montag has a negative (dystopian) view of life and his society, Faber relies on a realist approach that is focused on problem-solving. This could be attributed to his former career as a professor (Bradbury 34). Indeed, as the story progresses, it becomes apparent that it revolves around Faber finding a solution (self-awareness and realism) to Montag’s problems (disillusionment and naivety) and, in the process, remedying his unpleasant past.
The Theme of Experience versus Inexperience
There is a huge age difference between Montag and Faber, and that is why they have a teacher-student relationship. In fact, the narrator insinuates that Faber is more than twice as old as Montag (Bradbury 49). Faber is experienced both professionally and at life. Montag, on the other hand, is a brute, raw force that needs to be controlled. When Montag’s inexperience meets Faber’s knowledge and awareness a fruitful but rocky relationship blossoms. The theme of experience versus inexperience can also be examined from an academic standpoint. Faber is a well-learned individual who is disappointed with himself for being a “terrible coward” (Bradbury 57). Faber does not seem to be naturally intelligent. Instead, his experience as an English professor gives him, in addition to his age, the privilege to act as Montag’s mentor. On the other hand, Montag does not appear to be well schooled and, despite sporadic displays of rationality, his poor educational background denies him the experience to cope with common life challenges.
Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. Reprint, Reissue ed. London: Simon and Schuster, 2012. Print.