Happiness Essay

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Over the summer I read Fahrenheit 451, a novel by Ray Bradbury. The assignment was to write an essay focused in one of four topics, and I chose topic “Describe Clarisse’s effect on Montag and her function in the novel. How and why does she change him? Why does she vanish from the novel?” Montag is the product of his generation, and never questioned his actions or his thoughts. He didn’t question the purpose of his career of being a fireman, or how the job came into being. The society he lived in was dark, alienated and lonely. Everyone tried so hard to be happy it only made them more unhappy. Clarisse on the other was everything Fahrenheit 451’s world wasn’t. Clarisse doesn’t accept the values set forth for her by society, and rarely takes part in the activities, such as jet car racing, which appeal to the need for constant unthinking stimulation and are most preferred by the majority. Clarisse is an individual who is in touch with her own soul, and she is able to see the world around her and honestly evaluate its worth. “Are you happy?” She said. “Happy! Of all the nonsense.” He stopped laughing.”(10) Despite an automatic reply of “of course”, Guy Montag was in fact, not happy. He wasn’t happy with his career, his wife, or his life in general. It on was on this night that he realized his unhappiness, and it was because of Clarisse. It was the simple things she did, such as leaves pinned to a paper or flowers left on his porch, and the questions she asked. She showed him how much more there is to life then he knows. “Now explain”, she said, “why you haven’t any daughters like me, if you love children so much?”(28) The fact that someone would go out of their way to ask him if he was happy, why he had never had children of his own, puzzled him. This was Clarisse’s function in the novel. To act as the catalyst to prompt him to wonder about other people, to

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