Mary Maloney AND Guy Montag Compare AND Contrast Essay Samples
Mary Maloney, from “Lamb to the Slaughter” and Guy Montag from “Fahrenheit 451” are very interesting characters embedded in equally fascinating stories. Both these characters have their own differences, in the face of their roles in the stories. However, they also share some similarities in view of their actions and thought processes. Mary Maloney is similar to a typical 1950s housewife; devoted to her husband and home and is carrying a child with her and going about her daily chores. On the other hand, Guy Montag is a fireman who lives in a world that is opposed to normality and simplicity, rather it seems vile and unsatisfactory to him. However in spite of the different settings these characters belong to, they can be compared and analyzed with each other.
Firstly, as we begin contrasting Mary Maloney and Guy Montag, they appear to be very dynamic characters, that is, they keep changing, evolving and becoming something the reader might not have actually anticipated. Mary Maloney, at the start of the story, is a typical loving, sweet, caring and doting housewife who is all about her household and husband. All she appears to do is please her husband, Patrick Maloney. She cares for him, is on her toes to serve him and imagines a perfect life with her husband once she begins to expect a child. As it unfolds in the very beginning of the story, she prepares a drink for her husband the way he likes it, then sits with him, although he doesn’t talk, but she appears to be most happy with his silence as long as he is her company. However when he breaks the news of leaving her for good, she transforms into a character that is malevolent and murderous, and she ends up killing her own husband with a leg of lamb that she was about to make him for supper. Further, she creates an alibi and immediately comes up with a plan to deceive the police that would come to investigate the murder. She cleverly bakes the lamb, and then goes out grocery shopping, returning home to find her husband unknowingly dead. (Dahl, 1953).
The same can be said for Guy Montag, who is a cheerful, third generation fireman and is a typical happy man, satisfied with his work and is a professional man in the field. He likes his uniform and enjoys the job of putting out fires on illegal books. He was also a member of setting the hounds loose on people. However, he too changes and evolves into a more somber, unsatisfied and discontent man. He falls into questioning everything around him and is clearly unhappy in his marriage. Instead of confiding for satisfaction in his wife, his friendship with Clarisse opens him up to the emptiness of the world that he clearly realizes. He is a man riddled with the guilt of hiding books in his home and to be unsatisfied with his wife. The event that shocks him is the burning of the books by the firemen he works with, in the home of an old woman who has burned herself. Here he is caught in a love and hate relationship with his job. What he questions now is the intellect present and preached in books but rarely followed in reality. He then commences reading the books, with his alter ego Faber. Once he is acknowledged with power from the books, he confronts the fire department and is retaliated against. He decided now that the society is too far-fetched from his idealism, and he decides to run away to a place that will set him free from his misery, where books and knowledge are obeyed and followed. (Bradbury, 1953).
The two characters are also different from each other if they are similar indeed. Mary Maloney is a woman, who is a typical woman and has an idealistic mindset that is only related to home and love for her husband. On the other hand, Guy Montag is a fireman who has to be ruthless and devoted to a job that makes him earn a living for himself and his wife. Mary’s motive to kill her husband arouses out of her rage after being treated so badly and ungratefully, after all, she has done for her husband. Even the murder was unplanned, and she did not mean to kill him had he not divorced her. It was the only thought of separation that had enraged her and driven her to insanity. Guy, on the other hand, was driven to his behavior out of personal reasons and general dissatisfaction with life. His causes to change are abrupt and strange because earlier he actually liked the smell of burning books and the kerosene that could be smelt at the temperature of 451 Fahrenheit. Coming to hate the burning of books arose from his own experience of not knowing the purpose of his life and trying to find meaning out of it. However, the two characters are equally dissimilar and different when it comes to cleverness and stupidity in the execution of their plans.
Mary Malone kills her husband with a weapon that could never be revealed or discovered in fact she has the audacity to serve that very lamb she has bludgeoned her husband with, to the police. She is clever and plans the whole incident with equal carefulness; going to the grocer’s, baking the lamb and ensuring she has complete control over her feelings. In fact, she has always been so kind and loving that no one can’t even suspect her as the killer because she has been a doting and faithful wife all her married life. Hence, she has the perfect cover that saves her from getting caught. (Dahl, 1953).
In his mission to save books and gather meaning to life, Guy is rather impulsive and obvious that makes him a less clever character than Mary. His apparent morose and sullen behavior is well-known to people. Hence, his venture to save books is none other than another phase of him out of his behavioral mood swings. He escapes death narrowly, is a wanted person by the police and fire department, and he loses the trust and appreciation of his own friends as he tries to burn them down and kill them. It shows that he doesn’t think through and is unconcerned with consequences. (Bradbury, 1953). This aspect differentiates him starkly from Mary Malone.
Bradbury, Ray. (1953). “451 Fahrenheit.” Simon and Schuster. New York.
Dahl, Roald. (1953). “Lamb to the Slaughter.” Retrieved from http://www.depa.univ-