In Fahrenheit 451, describe the flashback of Montag meeting Faber--why does he remember this incident?

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mrs-campbell's profile pic

mrs-campbell | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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When Montag has the flashback to meeing Professor Faber for the first time, it is at a point in the novel when he has realized that he is incredibly unhappy, and he suspects that the answers to all of his questions can be found in books.  He is forcing Mildred to read, and he is frustrated because he isn't understanding what the books mean to him.  As he is sitting there, surrounded by his stolen books, trying to glean meaning from them, he remembers having met Faber at a park a year ago.  He had seen Faber sneak something into his jacket, and when Montag approached, Faber had been afraid.  But they had sat on a park bench and talked for a while.  Faber had been self-assured, happy, and confident. That had really struck Montag at the time; Faber had even been bold enough to quote literature.

So, as Montag is searching for answers, in books, the only person he knows who seems to have loved books and understood them is Faber.  Faber might have the answers.  At the time he had met Faber, he hadn't thought anything of it, because he hadn't realized at that point that he was unhappy.  But after Montag "wakes up" to his misery, he hopes that Faber can have some answers for him.

I hope that those thoughts helped; good luck!

kmj23's profile pic

kmj23 | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted on

In this flashback, Montag remembers meeting Faber (the "old man in the black suit") for the first time in the city park. Faber's sudden movements aroused Montag's curiosity and the pair started talking, initially about mundane things, like the weather, before Faber admitted that he used to teach English at college, before the department shut down. Feeling more confident, Faber uttered something that sounded like a "rhymeless poem" and Montag sudden realised that if he put his hand inside the old man's coat, he would find a book in there. But Montag did not reach inside and instead felt "numbed and useless." Faber then wrote down his name and address on a slip of paper and left the park. Montag later filed this information in his wallet called "Future Investigations."

Montag returns to this memory because he has come to the conclusion that books contain important information, but he does not know how to find and understand it. He needs a teacher, but Mildred has turned her back on him and Clarisse has disappeared. Faber is, therefore, the only person who can help, and this is why Montag is reminded of that meeting.

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