Fahrenheit 451: Top Ten Quotes
Beatty, explaining the history of censorship and periods of human education:
"Out of the nursery into the college and back to the nursery; there's your intellectual pattern for the past five centuries of more."
Beatty, touting the role of technology in man's aim to abolish individual thought:
"The zipper displaces the button and a man lacks just that much time to think while dressing at dawn, a philosophical hour, and thus a melancholy hour."
The captain continues by defending the moral aims of the ideal of censorship:
"Not everyone born free and equal, as the Constitution says, but everyone made equal. Each man the image of every other; then all are happy, for there are no mountains to make them cower, to judge themselves against."
Beatty, explaining the need to cremate the dead to make the living loose their memory:
"Forget them. Burn all, burn everything. Fire is bright and fire is clean."
"Maybe the books can get us half out of the cave. They just might stop us from making the same damn insane mistakes! " In this way, Montag sees books not only as helpful tools, but as vital agents of salvation for his diseased world.
When Mrs. Bowles rejects Montag's
"poetry lesson," the fireman can restrain himself no longer. He tells her, "Go home and think of your first husband divorced and your second husband killed in a jet and your third husband blowing his brains out, go home and think of the dozen abortions you've had, go home and think of that and your damn Caesarian sections, too, and your children who hate your guts! Go home and think how it all happened and what did you ever do to stop it?"
Beatty continues his attack, saying to Montag,
"[Fire's] real beauty is that it destroys responsibility and consequences. A problem gets too burdensome, then into the furnace with it. Now, Montag, you're a burden. And fire will lift you off my shoulders, clean, quick, sure; nothing to rot later."
Montag gets the last laugh when he turns to Beatty's dead body and says,
"You always said, don't face a problem, burn it. Well, now I've done both. Good-bye, Captain."
Montag realizes his own special role in the rebirth of thinking that must occur if the world is to go on. Bradbury narrates,
"Somewhere the saving and putting away had to begin again and someone had to do the saving and the keeping, one way or another, in books, in records, in people's heads, any way at all so long as it was safe, free from moths, silverfish, rust and dry-rot, and men with matches."
Granger reflects over the city's destruction, saying,
"We know the damn silly thing we just did. We know all the damn silly things we've done for a thousand years and as long as we know that and always have it around where we can see it, someday we'll stop making the goddamn funeral pyres and jumping in the middle of them." He goes on, "But even when we had the books on hand, a long time ago, we didn't use what we got out of them."
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