Study Guide

Fahrenheit 451 Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

By Ray Bradbury

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

Anticipation Stage and ‘Call’

Clarisse entices Montag. You know, intellectually speaking. The hero starts to doubt…

Through Montag’s scenes in the firehouse, we meet the many, many monsters of Fahrenheit 451: the firemen, the government, the Mechanical Hound, the TV parlours, and Captain Beatty. But it’s Clarisse that blows the summoning horn for our hero, Montag, to take a stand against these villains…

Dream Stage

Faber helps Montag hatch a plot.

Montag and Faber’s dreams fit the bill for this stage. They discuss everything from insidiously bringing down the institution of firemen to re-printing their own libraries and educating the masses. Faber is the realistic one here, so it’s really Montag who’s responsible for the big dreams.

Frustration Stage

Beatty turns the tables, using books against Montag. Confusion and disorientation ensue.

This all goes down at the firehouse, fittingly. It becomes clear that, on top of all the antagonizing forces we met in the first stage, there’s another monster – people’s ignorance. And this one’s even tougher to slay.

Nightmare Stage

Beatty forces Montag to torch his own house

This is about as bad as it gets. Mildred has betrayed her husband and Montag’s boss is putting him under arrest. At the same time, Montag has to face his own betrayal and guilt – you can get a good idea of what that’s like reading the passage in which he torches his bedroom. Faber is exposed, and the Mechanical Hound shows up, fashionably late to the nightmare party.

The Thrilling Escape from Death, and Death of the Monster

Montag escapes from death; the city is obliterated by bombs, which kills not only any metaphorical monsters inside it, but everything else in the surrounding vicinity as well.

Granted, Montag smoked a good deal of monster in that climactic fire scene. (Beatty and the Mechanical Hound bit the dust at that point.) But remember that another Mechanical Hound was brought in, that more firemen were there to take Beatty’s place. Montag may have chopped the head off this sucker, but at least two grew back. Now that we’ve used every monster metaphor known to man…