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.
There are many reasons for a government to illegalize certain books or simply all books. Books have one entertaining part and one informational part.
Many books are sources to historical information such as descriptions of earlier life and living. In the extract Montag mentions that he burns books of famous authors and poets from America, which indicates that his society really wants to get rid of descriptions and information about the earlier society, but for what reason?
Comparing to dictatorships in today’s world we now that many books and informational sources are made illegal in an attempt to avoid rebellion and scepticism.
The more information and knowledge people have the more power they have. A reason why the society has illegalized books in the novel might be that the former society, which probably is reflected in many of the books, involved more freedom, diversity and individualism.
If people never get to know the former society, they will never know what they are missing out on.
In Fahrenheit 451 they can not read what they want probably because the ones who is controlling the society is scared that the people will get ideas form the books about what life was like many years ago.