Why does Montag answers Clarisse ”right off” without even stopping to think? Without knowing the whole novel, certain things is unknown to the reader, we don’t know the background of either Clarisse or Montag. Despite the fact that we have only read one page of the book, we do know that this is a science fiction novel and that there is something in this society that Clarisse wants to find out or reveal. Something that makes reading books illegal.
Science fiction is based on an imagined future were the society has entered bigger or smaller changes from what we know today. In most cases there is faults in the futuristic “perfection” of a society, something that the main characters of these science fiction novels wants to reveal.
The discussion between Clarisse and Montag indicates that something is not like we think. Either Clarisse knows, or Montag, maybe both of them. Montag answering right of without thinking before saying is a sign that there is a hidden truth about the firemen and the reason why they burn books to ashes.