A lover of life and nature, Clarisse, an affable neighbor who is seventeen, is the foil of Mildred — Montag's cold, mindless, conforming wife. Delightfully human and aware of her surroundings, Clarisse disdains the fact-learning that passes for modern education. She enjoys rain, dandelions, autumn leaves, and even sessions with her analyst, who misdiagnosis her exuberance for living.
Powered by an insatiable curiosity, Clarisse, whom Beatty labels a "time bomb," serves as the catalyst that impels Montag toward a painful but necessary self-examination. With gentle pricks to his self-awareness, Clarisse reveals to him the absence of love, pleasure, and contentment in his life. Her role in the novel is only the forerunner of the spiritual revitalization completed by Faber and Granger. Her terrible death, nearly repeated when a careening vehicle passes over the tip of Montag's finger, underscores the rampant dehumanization of society and the resulting random acts of violence.