A third-generation fireman who suddenly realizes the emptiness of his life and starts to search for meaning in the books he is supposed to be burning. Though he is sometimes rash and has a hard time thinking for himself, he is determined to break free from the oppression of ignorance. He quickly forms unusually strong attachments with anyone who seems receptive to true friendship. His biggest regret in life is not having a better relationship with his wife.
Read an in-depth analysis of Guy Montag.
Montag’s brittle, sickly-looking wife. She is obsessed with watching television and refuses to engage in frank conversation with her husband about their marriage or her feelings. Her suicide attempt, which she refuses even to acknowledge, clearly indicates that she harbors a great deal of pain. Small-minded and childish, Mildred does not understand her husband and apparently has no desire to do so.
Read an in-depth analysis of Mildred Montag.
The captain of Montag’s fire department. Although he is himself extremely well-read, paradoxically he hates books and people who insist on reading them. He is cunning and devious, and so perceptive that he appears to read Montag’s thoughts.
Read an in-depth analysis of Captain Beatty.
A retired English professor whom Montag encountered a year before the book opens. Faber still possesses a few precious books and aches to have more. He readily admits that the current state of society is due to the cowardice of people like himself, who would not speak out against book burning when they still could have stopped it. He berates himself for being a coward, but he shows himself capable of acts that require great courage and place him in considerable danger.
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A beautiful seventeen-year-old who introduces Montag to the world’s potential for beauty and meaning with her gentle innocence and curiosity. She is an outcast from society because of her odd habits, which include hiking, playing with flowers, and asking questions, but she and her (equally odd) family seem genuinely happy with themselves and each other.
The leader of the “Book People,” the group of hobo intellectuals Montag finds in the country. Granger is intelligent, patient, and confident in the strength of the human spirit. He is committed to preserving literature through the current Dark Age.
One of Mildred’s vapid friends. She is emotionally disconnected from her life, appearing unconcerned when her third husband is sent off to war. Yet she breaks down crying when Montag reads her a poem, revealing suppressed feelings and sensibilities.
One of Mildred’s friends. Like Mrs. Phelps, she does not seem to care deeply about her own miserable life, which includes one divorce, one husband killed in an accident, one husband who commits suicide, and two children who hate her. Both of Mildred’s friends are represented as typical specimens of their society.
Two firemen who work with Montag. They share the lean, shadowed look common to all firemen and go about their jobs unquestioningly.