In part two of Fahrenheit 451, how did Beatty confuse Montag about books?

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schulzie | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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Beatty is very well read for someone who burns books and thinks books should be burnt. He confuses Montag the first time in part one when Montag pretends to be sick.  Beatty uses quotes from books to confuse and tease Montag. He uses the quotes, taking them out of context to make his argument. That is why Montag has gone to Faber to ask for support.  Montag tells Faber,

"He's read enough so he has all the answers, or seems to have.  His voice is like butter.  I'm afraid he'll talk me back the way I was." (pg 89)

So, when Montag returns to the firehouse that day, Beatty holds out his hand and Montag gives him a book. He then quotes Sir Philip Sydney and Alexander Pope when he said "A little learning is a dangerous thing."  Beatty uses it to support his idea that,

"Read a few lines and off you go over the cliff.  Bang, you're ready to blow up the world, chop off heads, knock down women and children, destroy authority.  I know, I've been through it all." (pg 106)

Faber warns Montag not to listen because Beatty is "slippery" Beatty goes on quoting while he is telling a story of a dream he had about Montag and their battle of dualing quotes.

Montag hasn't read any of the books Beatty is quoting.  He doesn't have time to think about the quotes Beatty is giving him.  When Beatty finishes with him,

"Montag's head whirled sickeningly.  He felt beaten unmercifully on brow, eyes, nose, lips, chin, on shoulders, on upflailing arms.  He wanted to yell 'No! shut up, you're confusing things, stop it!' (pg 107)

Faber warns Montag that Beatty is "muddying the waters."  Even Beatty admits to Montag,

".....I was doing a terrible thing in using the very books you clung to, to rebut you on every hand, on every point!  What traitors books can be!  You think they're backing you up, and they turn on you. Others can use them too, and there you are, lost in the middle of the moor, in a great welter of nouns and verbs and adjectives." (pg 107)

The quotes I have given are for my copy of the book; however, they should be found in close proximity.  



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