Fahrenheit 451

From Beatty's speech, what does Bradbury reveal about his own fears about society? What ideas/concepts are true in our modern society?

The speech is towards the end of part 1.

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What makes Beatty such a powerful force in this novel is that, actually, he makes a decent point in his anti-book ravings. Literature is contradictory. It is confusing. It is treacherous, it will mix you up, it will force you to answer questions you never wanted to ask, and it will quite often pull the rug out from under your feet.

But that’s one of the lessons of Fahrenheit 451. It’s not about what books say, it’s about the process of reading them and thinking for yourself. It’s about questioning. This, of course, is the reason books were abolished in the first place – not for the information they held, but for the dissent they caused amongst their readers. So Beatty is right to argue that books are contradictory. But he misses the point. Contradictions are the whole idea behind literature.

That is what makes Beatty different from Guy. He’s not willing to do the thinking. He doesn’t want to question and think. He turned books down because they don’t hand him The Secret of the Universe all tied up with a bow. Montag, on the other hand, wants to work for his knowledge. He wants to understand what he reads, as he tells Faber, and then think for himself to decide in what he believes. That’s why he’s the hero, and Beatty is the villain.