In the conflict, it could be said that a lot is lost. I find that that which was lost was very superficial and meaningless. Furthermore, what Montag gained is impossible to be happy without. The conflict is caused not just by firemen, but also by the future society that both allows and supports the firemen.
Montag is made to burn down his own home in the course of the book (Bradbury 116). That is a hard thing for a person to do, but he gets through it. In the same sentence, he loses his job, and is told he will lose his freedom (Bradbury 117). That is a hard thing to be told. His wife calls the firemen on him and leaves him (Bradbury 114). To top things off, he might have lost his life to the mechanical hound that was chasing him through the night (Bradbury 133). Honestly, he lost a house that could never have been a real home, a job that forced him to destroy, and a woman who did not have enough thought to really have a self. The thoughts of a person make a person who they are. As for his becoming an outlaw, and seemingly losing his freedom, he gains the freedom of his mind by being with those who know the value of thought.
When Montag discovers how wonderful books are, he gains the wonder that belongs to a working mind. When Clarisse shows him all of the wonderful things in nature that he never stopped to see, he starts to enjoy himself, and it makes him happy (Bradbury 23). As he was not happy before, his new found happiness is quite a wonderful thing to gain. I find myself using the word wonderful a lot, because I cannot think of a better word to describe the discovery of something so important.
The conflict is caused by a society of people who do not want to think, and therefore do not want the thoughts books inherently translate. It is really horrible to think about any large group of people so inclined. It conjures up the image of a gang of high schoolers to me. Obviously, I think very largely of my peers. Perhaps I will be able to say that without sarcasm in college.
Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. New York: Ballantine, 1996. Print.