Knowing your Fahrenheit 451 characters will prevent you from looking stupid when the teacher calls on you. This handy study guide will introduce each of the major characters and explain their roles.
A fireman when the novel begins--Guy Montag goes from fireman/destroyer of books to freedom fighter/book saver (Think Karl Marx embracing free market capitalism, Osama Bin Laden embracing hot dogs and apple pie on the fourth of July, or Johnny Damon leaving the Red Sox and signing with the Yankees.). Guy's march to freedom is characterized by clumsiness and stupidity. The reader does, however, relate to him, especially when he incinerates his boss with a flamethrower, tells his wife's annoying friend to go home, and calls in sick because the thought of working makes him want to vomit.
Guy's wife needs help. She attempts suicide. Afraid to face reality--she watches TV constantly and since Dr. Phil and Oprah were no longer on the air, there is nobody to help her. She betrays Guy to the authorities for reading books.
As the novel opens, Guy and Clarisse meet for the first time. Bradbury gives Clarisse angelic characteristics--she glides, appears out of nowhere, wears white, and is compared to a candle. She, in fact, becomes a messenger to Guy, a messenger who makes him aware of his miserable existence and facilitates his change.
Montag's boss knows an astonishing number of literary quotes for someone who has dedicated his life to burning books. He knows Montag has stolen books and attempts to reason with him. He explains that people stopped reading voluntarily because everyone got offended, angry, and confused by books. After setting Montag's house ablaze, he arrests and taunts him. He learns a valuable lesson: never taunt a man holding a flamethrower.
Montag spots Faber in a park reading poetry prior to the novel's beginning. Montag contacts Faber, asks him to teach him, and bullies him into finding a printer. It is Faber who directs Montag to the railroad tracks toward St. Louis as Montag is being hunted.
Granger is the leader of the intellectuals Montag discovers on the tracks. He has devised a method of memorization in order to preserve books by memory. He suggests books will return as soon as people are ready for them.