Fahrenheit 451: Clarisse — dead or alive?

As Montag walks along the path he is, “surprised to learn how certain he suddenly was of a single fact he could not prove. Once, long ago, Clarisse had walked here, where he was walking now” (Bradbury 145).

Do you think Clarisse is alive? Why or why not? Use quotes (with MLA citations) and examples from the text to support your answer.

After posting your response (using your first name and last initial), read your classmates’ opinions and post a substantive reply to a student with an opposing viewpoint. Ask questions, present counterarguments and compliment strong points made.

17 Responses to Fahrenheit 451: Clarisse — dead or alive?

  1. Julia B. says:

    I think Clarisse is alive because her family’s moving and her dying seem more than a coincidence. In the book, it reveals, “Whole family moved out somewhere. But she’s gone for good. I think she’s dead.” (Bradbury pg.44). This implies that the family moved out and Clarisse died around the same time. This seems like more than a coincidence. In the book, Clarisse tells Montag, “My uncle was arrested another time-did I tell you?-for being a pedestrian.” (pg.7). She is aware that you can be arrested for walking on the street. Beatty did keep a track record of her and her family of false alarms, and her uncle being arrested. Beatty even states, “We know how to nip most of them in the bud, early.” (pg.58). Perhaps the family knew that, and moved to prevent them all from being arrested. Clarisse could’ve just faked her death by ducking and hiding in the center of the car, like Montag does on page 122, so the police would think she’s dead. This would let her and her family live in peace without the fear of the police or firemen killing them for their ideas. Even if she is really dead, her legacy is not for she inspired Montag to re-evaluate his life and try to change society for the better.

    • Fiona Killeen says:

      I like how you talked about how Clarisse’s legacy is still alive and present. Even after she left she continued to guide and teach Montag. She played a pivotal rule in his life, even when she wasn’t there.

    • Zachary S. says:

      You made some great points but I am going to have to disagree with your ideas. You are right when it comes to her family having a confusing background but I do not personally think that caused her downfall. In the turbulent society of Fahrenheit 451, there are so many ways to be persecuted and also be killed. If her family had been keeping books (we can’t be 100% sure) there is a great chance she could’ve been caught and killed, and if she was looming around the city the time the bombs came, she would have stood no chance of survival. Personally, I think she died when the bombs leveled the city.

    • Ms. McMane says:

      Great use of the text, Julia! You make some great points.

  2. Ronan M says:

    I believe that Clarisse did die because of what Beatty and Millie said about her death. Millie says “…she’s gone for good. I think she’s dead”. I think this shows that it is true because Millie doesn’t pay attention to much outside of the television and the Shell, so for her to say that shows that it probably actually happened. Another instance of it is when Beatty says “she is better off dead”. I think this hinted that Beatty was either involved in the death, or was merely aware of how it happened, as the government didn’t like people like her; curious and questioning individuals were seen as a threat, so it doesn’t seem unlikely that the government would stage an accident to get rid of said threat.

    • Fiona Killeen says:

      I agree with your explanation. Especially about how Millie is always preoccupied with technology. I also think that Beatty had something to do with her death ; he was certainly suspicious. Clarisse was definitely seen as trouble to the government, therefore making her a threat. The government didn’t like people who could potentially take away their power.

    • Ms. McMane says:

      Your point about Beatty’s quote is convincing, Ronan.

  3. Fiona Killeen says:

    I think that Clarisse died because of the suspicious comments that Beatty made to Montag the day that he didn’t show up to work. Beatty explained, “The girl? She was a time bomb” (page 57). Beatty and the firemen had been investigating Clarisse and her family for years. They were waiting for an opportunity to prove that Clarisse and her family were guilty of harboring books. Furthermore, Beatty described, ” We know how to nip most of them in the bud, early ” (page 58). People like Clarisse who refused to conform to society are seen as a danger and menace to the government. The government wants to stay in complete power so they get rid of any competition or threats. It appears that in the government’s eyes Clarisse possessed too much intelligence and curiosity so they eliminated her and her power.

    • Tia M. says:

      I completely agree with your argument because Clarisse was seen a threat to the government and society, so it would sense that they would kill her off. I also agree with the fact the you think that Beatty was involved in her death because of the comments he made to Montag when they were talking about her.

    • Ms. McMane says:

      Fiona, great use of the text! There are definitely quotes to suggest that Beatty got rid of her.

  4. Zachary S. says:

    I believe that Clarisse is dead. I think this because life in the dystopian society was cruel, forgetting, and violent. It is well known that people die on a daily basis, even though these deaths are very preventable. One way violence thrived was through war in this society, an I believe Clarisse died because if it. This quote says
    “And in that instant saw the
    city, instead of the bombs, in the air. They had displaced each other. For
    another of those impossible instants the city stood, rebuilt and
    unrecognizable, taller than it had ever hoped or strived to be, taller
    than man had built it, erected at last in gouts of shattered concrete and
    sparkles of torn metal into a mural hung like a reversed avalanche, a
    million colours, a million oddities, a door where a window should be, a
    top for a bottom, a side for a back, and then the city rolled over and fell
    down dead.
    The sound of its death came after” (pg.153).
    I think these bombs dropped on the city (leaving it utterly destroyed) is what killed her. It killed everyone in sight and left the city in peril.

    • Julia B. says:

      While your argument does make sense, I do have to disagree. Early in the book it states how Clarisse pointed out to Montag that there was a man on the moon. This shows that she looks up at the sky more than the average citizen. The book mentions multiple times about the jet planes in the sky, so she would’ve likely saw them. It also states in the book how Clarisse’s family moved. If she’s alive, she would have likely stayed with them, so the family wouldn’t of been in the city when all the bombs dropped. She could’ve been killed after the family left the city, but we don’t know for sure. Being that she’s more aware of the sky and her surroundings, I believe that she would’ve left before the bombs fell. Although, we don’t know how long time passed between her family moving and the day the bombs dropped, so it’s not 100 percent certain if she was or was not in the city.

  5. Monica Rivera says:

    Okay, so this is what I think. How come Clarisse’s death wasn’t publicized to the public? Why did it take Montag so much energy to find out what happened to her? Wouldn’t the death of a child be something taken seriously and known by many in a community, or was this society so dissociated with caution and care? I believe that she maybe she was killed, but not in a car accident. Why else would her family disappear from their home as well? Maybe their society finally put an end to Clarisse and her family, due to their eccentricity and different way of thinking.
    “Laughter blew across the moon-colored lawn from the house of
    Clarisse and her father and mother and the uncle who smiled so quietly
    and so earnestly. Above all, their laughter was relaxed and hearty and
    not forced in any way, coming from the house that was so brightly lit
    this late at night while all the other houses were kept to themselves in
    darkness.” (Pg.14). This quote shows how different Clarisse’s family was, in even small things. The thought that possibly killed the family off, due to their “weirdness”, and used Clarisse’s death by car accident to explain why the mourning family left town. This also brings up the thought, that maybe they were taken away to a concentration camp of sorts, to keep their thirst for knowledge hidden.
    One things is for sure I do not believe Clarisse was killed in a car accident, a) She is dead, as the rest of her family, b) they were taken away. There were no bodies, after all

    • Ms. McMane says:

      I agree that if she is dead, it wasn’t an “accident.” I do believe, as you suggested, Monica, that “this society so dissociated with caution and care” that they wouldn’t notice or care about a girl dying. If it’s not on their big screens, they don’t seem to care about it.

  6. Tia M. says:

    I think that Clarisse is dead but was killed purposely by the government since she was seen as a threat to their society since she wasn’t afraid to ask questions. When Montag hadn’t seen her for almost a week he grew suspicious and ask Mildred if she knew what had happened to her and she said with no emotion “Whole family moved out somewhere. But she’s gone for good. I think she’s dead.” (pg 47) ” she than goes on to say that she thinks that she got hit by a car that’s how she died. She wasn’t really sure how she died and I think that if she was really hit by a car it would have been more publicized. Later on in the novel when Montag was talking to Beatty about Clarisse he said that “she is better off dead”.(pg 60) he says that Clarisse was lucky she died because the government knew to “nip them in the bud”(page 60) this is implying that the government should and knew how to get rid of her so they did since she and her family were crazy and went against all the societal norms.

  7. April M says:

    I think Clarisse is dead because as she said everyone saw her as the freak and no one approves of her actions. The way she died to debatable. I think she dead because of what Montag and Beatty were saying. Beatty said that she was a “bomb” meaning there was just a matter of time until she left of was gone.

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