Fahrenheit 451

What does Captain Beatty tell Montag about history and about the need for fireman?

Part 1

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This is an important part of the story because it explains how the society seen in "Fahrenheit 451" came about, and speaks to the message that Bradbury was trying to get across with his book which was people should work to prevent that sort of society from becoming reality. Beatty tells Montag that the society came to be because people wanted things to be simpler and faster. They didn't want to take the time to read an entire book or an entire newspaper even. They wanted to know just what was necessary for them and then move on. Consequently, books became condensed to the point of simply being a sentence describing the plot. Along with the boring blandness that came with condensing books came the push to "cleanse" books of all material not deemed politically correct. That cleansing, done for the sake of keeping people happy and free from upset, made books very boring. Beatty explains that these two trends - desire for speed of information along with the white-washing of information - created the dictate that books were bad and they were needless. Beatty says books caused people to be unhappy because books told the truth or books showed possibility of what could be. So books were bad. Since people wanted information fast and only relevant to themselves, they did not want to take the time to read a book. Finally, he says that to keep people happy and occupied, the government pushed for recreation and schooling at younger ages so that the children were taken from home as babies and put in schools. Little nurturing was done, but people were encouraged to partake of mindless contests and sports. Those are the three main points that Beatty brings out to Montag in part one.