Fahrenheit 451: Novel Summary: Part 2B
After enduring the subway, Montag finally reaches Faber's house. Though the elderly man is hesitant to reveal himself to the fireman, he eventually opens the door when he sees the Bible Montag possesses. Faber admits that he hasn't seen a Bible for a long time. He goes on to criticize the secularization of religion in recent years. He muses, "I often wonder if God recognizes His own son the way we've dressed him up, or is it dressed him down?" Christ is now little more than a good advertiser for consumer goods. It seems everything and everyone who used to be real is watered down in this overly tolerant society.
Soon, Faber begins telling Montag the history of this modern era from his perspective. Ancient books, like the Bible, are incredibly valuable, Faber argues, because they are sufficiently detailed to portray life as it is-real. The reason why the Bible and other books were censored, Faber says, is because their portrayal of life was often too real-it accurately showed human sin and ugliness, which became offensive and troubling to people. Secondly, Faber explains that the lack of leisure time, meaning time to contemplate the deep mysteries of life, has been taken away by the government. Temporal pleasures, like television, serve to occupy people and keep them from true, independent thought. Lastly, the application of the ideas learned in books, a natural freedom, Bradbury though Faber argues, is necessary to change the behavior of man. Books are intended to correct the mistakes humans made in the past, and to "remind" men what "asses and fools" they were.
Montag's character continues to change. No longer is he a robot, as he was at the beginning of the novel, but now he is beginning to think for himself, seeing himself struggling for a noble ideal-namely, to save the world from ignorance. Montag is firmly committed to this ambition. He tells his mentor, "That's the good part of dying: when you've nothing to lose, you run any risk you want." Here, Montag realizes the relative insignificance of his own life compared to that of the world. This discussion inspires Montag to conceive of a plan. Though Faber is skeptical about the possibility for another mental renaissance of sorts, Montag believes that a new revolution of peoples' minds can indeed occur. Yet when Faber refuses to help, Montag threatens him, reminding him that's he's a fireman. When he begins to rip the pages of the Bible, Faber gives in and agrees to teach Montag what he knows as a professor.