Literature Study GuidesFahrenheit 451Part 3 Montag Joins The Outcasts Summary

Fahrenheit 451 | Study Guide

Ray Bradbury

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Part 3 | Montag Joins the Outcasts

Course Hero’s video study guide provides in-depth summary and analysis of Part 3 | Burning Bright (Montag Joins the Outcasts) of Ray Bradbury's novel Fahrenheit 451.

Fahrenheit 451 | Part 3 (Montag Joins the Outcasts) : Burning Bright | Summary

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Summary

Montag runs again. The Mechanical Hound almost catches him and hesitates near Faber's house before going off in another direction. Montag puts the Seashell Radio back in his ear in time to hear the authorities calling for everyone to look out of their doors and windows at the same time to try to spot Montag. There is no penalty for not doing so, but "the doorknobs turned on five thousand doors." Montag escapes to a river, which carries him into the countryside.

Eventually Montag finds his way to the railroad tracks and to the hobo camp. Montag meets their leader, a man named Granger. Granger gives Montag a drink to change his smell so the Mechanical Hound can't track him. The group watches the chase for "Montag" on a small portable television. Granger narrates the event, explaining how to fool the public, and another man dies in Montag's place.

Afterward the members of the group introduce themselves. They used to be professors. Each has memorized great books or parts of great books. After they memorize the books, they burn them so the authorities can't find them. There are thousands more book lovers just like them. When the book lovers ask what Montag can contribute, he agrees to memorize the Book of Ecclesiastes (a book of life lessons from the Hebrew Bible, found in the Christian Old Testament). When Montag insists he doesn't deserve to be a part of the group because he has been a fool, Granger and the other members of the group respond with compassion and welcome him into their ranks.

Analysis

This section of the novel shows the power of mass media. While he's running, Montag hears a broadcast via his Seashell Radio asking "the entire population" of the area to go outside and look for him. Mass media is equated with mass obedience, and it is frighteningly effective. If there were any doubt about the group's awareness of the society they have left behind, Granger's narration of the hunt for the false Montag eliminates it. He understands the government's manipulation of the media, predicting everything the authorities will do and explaining why they do it.

The book lovers contrast strongly with the society that Montag has left behind. First, their fire warms him rather than harming him. Second, they are thoughtful and take their time, with no need to rush at high speeds, and they care about the world around them. Their silence is as eloquent as their speech, and they are kind, immediately moving to help Montag.

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