Fahrenheit 451


Week 1



  • F451- Read the first half of “The Hearth and the Salamander”
  • Read handouts from class.
  • Watch video from website link.

Week 2


Week 3


  • Read the entire section “The Sieve and the Sand” in F451.
  • Take a look at the following discussion questions and quotes.
  • Pick two questions to answer for the class on Wednesday.
  • Pick two quotes to discuss for the class on Wednesday.
  • Try to go as in depth as possible with your answers and comments! It’s time for the students to lead the class discussion!

“The Sieve and the Sand” Discussion Questions

  1. In thinking about Clarisse’s friendship and her death, Montag goes “…trembling along the hall to the kitchen” (p. 68). Why has his brief interaction with her made such an impact on him?
  2. How does Montag answer Mildred when she asks why she should read? What does their exchange indicate about the differences between them?
  3. Although Montag’s country has won “two atomic wars since 2022” (p. 69), the threat of another war grows stronger. What reason does Montag give for the country being hated so much? How might books help Montag’s countrymen relate to peoples of other countries?
  4. How does the sieve and the sand analogy apply to Montag?
  5. When Montag visits Faber, Faber calls himself a coward. Why? In what way has he acted cowardly?
  6. Faber tells Montag; “It’s not books you need, it’s some of the things that once were in books” (p. 78). What is it that Montag needs and is searching for?
  7. According to Faber, what three things are necessary to the pursuit of happiness? To what degree has Montag gained each of these three factors in his life at this point of the novel?
  8. Why is Faber so discouraged about changing society for the better even if a war wipes out the current culture in their country?
  9. Why does Montag not heed Faber’s warnings and instead confronts the women in his house with a reading of “Dover Beach”?
  10. When Montag returns to the firehouse for work, he is divided. What are the divisions within himself that he experiences?
  11. The Captain recounts his dream in which he defeats Montag’s argument for the importance of books. Choose one of the Captain’s quotes that directly argues against the power of books and explain what the quote means.
  12. How does Montag feel about himself as he rides the fire truck with the other men to burn more books?

“The Sieve and the Sand” Reader Response Quotes

“Maybe the books can get us half out of the cave. They just might stop us from making the same damn insane mistakes!” (p. 70).

“The train radio vomited upon Montag, in retaliation, a great tonload of music made of tin, copper, silver, chromium, and brass. The people were pounded into submission; they did not run, there was no place to run…” (p. 75).

“I often wonder if God recognizes His own son the way we’ve dressed him up, or is it dressed him down? He’s a regular peppermint stick now, all sugar-crystal and saccharine when he isn’t making veiled references to certain commercial products that every worshiper absolutely needs” (p. 77-78).

“I’m one of the innocents who could have spoken up and out when no one would listen to the ‘guilty,’ but I did not speak and thus became guilty myself” (p. 78).

“Books were only one type of receptacle where we stored a lot of things we were afraid we might forget. There is nothing magical in them, at all. The magic is only in what books say, how they stitched the patches of the universe together in one garment for us” (p. 79).

“The things you’re looking for, Montag, are in the world, but the only way the average chap will ever see ninety-nine percent of them is in a book. Don’t ask for guarantees. And don’t look to be saved in any one thing, person, machine, or library. Do your own bit of saving, and if you drown, at least die knowing you were headed for shore” (p. 82).

“Those who don’t build must burn. It’s as old as history and juvenile delinquents” (p. 85).

“If you hide your ignorance, no one will hit you and you’ll never learn” (p. 100).

Week 4



Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier

Board of Education v. Pico

Tinker v. Des Moines

Ginsberg v. New York

Butler v. Michigan



Finish reading Fahrenheit 451.

Learn about one of the censorship cases listed above and prepare to explain it to the class on Wednesday. Do you agree with the court’s decision?

Choose one quote from the book that conveys one of the book’s major themes. Be prepared to explain to the class what the theme is and why this would be an important theme to discuss in the book.

Week 5


Fahrenheit 451 Themes

Fahrenheit 451 Themes link 2

Fahrenheit 451 Themes link 3

Fahrenheit 451 Themes

  • conformity vs. individuality
  • freedom of speech and the consequences of losing it
  • the importance of remembering and understanding history
  • machines as helpers to humans, machines as hindrances or enemies


Please have your answers in writing with you in class so we can discuss. Sometimes it’s hard to remember all of the amazing things you were thinking over while you were at home! Don’t stress too much. Your answers can be as long or as short as you wish. 

  1. Finish reading the book including the afterword and coda.
  2. Read through one or more of the links above.
  3. Choose one of the themes. Find one or more quotes from the book that discuss the theme you have chosen. How does the quote(s) you have chosen explain/reflect our current culture? 
  4. What does Granger mean when he says, “We’re going to go build a mirror factory first and put out nothing but mirrors for the next year and take a long time to look at them?” Why would “mirrors” be important in this new society? (Note: In Part 1, Clarisse is said to be “like a mirror.”)
  5. Learn about one of the censorship cases listed in week 4. Be prepared to explain it to the class on Wednesday. Do you agree with the court’s decision? Why or why not?
  6. Do you believe this book reflects our current society? Why or why not?
  7. Work on your class presentation (see week 6 homework).

Week 6



Class Presentation

On the last day of the class I would like each student to give a five-minute presentation. Please choose one of the following or email me if you have another idea. Include quotes and ideas from the book that support your argument.

  • an argument either for or against the control of intellectual ideas (Should a college professor be allowed to teach outside of norms?)
  • an argument either for or against state-controlled news/fake news
  • an argument either for or against our culture’s current tv/internet usage

Week 7


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