Part 1 — The Hearth and the Salamander
1) Montag thinks, For how many people did you know that refracted your own light to you? People were more often he searched for a simile, found one in his work torches, blazing away until they whiffed out. How rarely did other people’s faces take of you and throw back to you your own expression, your own innermost trembling thought? What does he mean? Do you agree that most people are torches instead of mirrors? Why or why not?
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2) Clarisse tells Montag, “No one has any time anymore for anyone else.” How is this true in her world? Is this true of our world today? Why or why not?
3) Clarisse says to Montag, “People don’t talk about anything … They name a lot of cars or clothes or swimming pools mostly and say how swell! But they all say the same things.” Has social media created conversations like Clarisse describes? Why or why not?
4) Montag realizes how empty he feels when he admits that he would not cry if Mildred died. Whose fault is it that he feels empty? Does he have the power to solve his emptiness? Do people today have the power to solve their emptiness? Why or why not?
5) Beatty argues that people, when faced with conflicting ideas, find themselves unhappy and in turmoil. How does society balance the need for knowledge and multiple viewpoints with potentially offensive ideas and opinions?
6) Beatty tries to make a compelling argument that firemen are responsible for keeping the peace because too much information in the hands of any one person leads to unhappiness. Who should be responsible for dispensing knowledge? Who should be responsible for censorship? Why?