In the future, a totalitarian government employs a force known as Firemen to seek out and destroy all literature, permitting them to search anyone, anywhere, at any time. One of the Firemen, Guy Montag (Oskar Werner), meets one of his neighbors, Clarisse (Julie Christie), a 20-year-old schoolteacher whose job is hanging by a thread due to her unorthodox views. The two have a discussion about his job, where she asks if he ever reads the books he burns. Curious, he begins to hide books in his house, and begins reading them, starting with Charles Dickens' David Copperfield. This leads to conflict with his wife, Linda, who is more concerned with being popular enough to be a member of The Family, an interactive television program that refers to its viewers as "cousins".