Fahrenheit 451 Character Analysis Worksheet

Fahrenheit 451, by Arthur Miller, is one of his most famous works. The story itself takes place in modern-day England, but the name ‘Fahrenheit 451’ comes from Fahrenheit’s birth city of Basel, Switzerland. The novel has often been called ‘the face of modernity’, since it presents a unique viewpoint on the world and life in modern times. Miller wrote the book as a response to the post-war world, which had shown a drastic decline in literary standards of personal merit. Thus, throughout the book, a steady stream of ordinary people are tormented and manipulated by a secret group called the Firemen of the Future, who manipulate and control the fate of those who oppose their rule.

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In order to prepare for class, I made use of several resources. I used the book, Fahrenheit 451 by Arthur Miller, to look over plot summaries and character descriptions. I also looked through biographies of key figures such as Montag, Ray Bradstreet, and Gustave Caillebroe, and compared their works of fiction with the central theme of the novel.

After reading through the book a few times, I came to realize that most of what the Firemen were doing was to prevent the future and prevent others from reading the memories of those who did not submit to their will. Thus, in essence they were enforcing a form of censorship. Although some people may consider this to be an unjustified form of censorship, I nevertheless found that this part of Fahrenheit 451 really spoke to me because it illustrated exactly how little we human beings actually know about our own history. And this is just one of the many strengths of this great work, which I will discuss in my next few paragraphs.

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The second section of the Fahrenheit 451 character analysis worksheet, called “The Mechanical Hound”, gives us another important perspective on Fahrenheit’s novel. What makes the novel unique is the way it presents its themes. For instance, unlike other works of fiction where the hero acts only when the protagonist does, here the mechanical hound stumbles upon events that he himself deliberately causes. Also, unlike most of his stories where the protagonist is a Bureau agent sent from the Department of Justice, here the Bureau itself is the protagonist. Finally, unlike most works of fiction where the setting is the nineteenth century New York City, where the setting is that of an apartment in San Francisco.

The first group of people we meet in Fahrenheit 451 are two unnamed firemen, who decide to go on a search for “the thing” after finding several dead bodies in the wrecked car. These firemen are searching for a missing woman who has been riding in the car along with her friend. While the firemen pursue the strange cars, a man in a suit jumps out from a nearby window and starts shooting at them with a sub-machine gun, killing one of the firemen instantly.

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As the investigation continues, the other two firemen, John Quincey and Henry B. Flood, learn that the strange vehicle they found was carrying a “vessel of unknown origins”. After checking out the grounds, the police discover that it belongs to the daughter of a well-known writer who had died in a plane crash nearly forty years earlier. Apparently, she had hidden the body in a vat of voodoo magic oil. Two other suspects are also named: Gianni Montag, who is suspected of poisoning the oil, and Ray Bradley, who is suspected of being the secret agent who had been trying to kill the girl by using a serum capable of turning any person into a vampire.

In order to support his suspicions, the Chief Inspector goes to the University of Chicago, where a character analysis workshop is being held for students interested in writing creative fiction. A book title is suggested and student writers are encouraged to write fictional stories about such subjects as: “The Telephone” and “A Time to Kill”. When asked if there are any interesting topics for this type of research paper, the policeman states that he can’t think of anything. The only possible topic is “fahrenheit 451”, but nobody seems to know what that means either.

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When all else fails, John Quincey tries reading Fahrenheit 451 himself. Unfortunately, he has to stop halfway through the story to consult a dictionary because he doesn’t know what the term “fahrenheit” means. Finally, Faber decides to take a crack at the novel’s plot, but only manages to confuse everybody even further. As a result, most people give up at this point and try to find a different reading program to pursue their creative writing dreams.

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