In Fahrenheit 451, how did the firemen know which houses had books?
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The firemen could receive complaints from other citizens. For example, an informant (a neighbor) gives up the woman who eventually chooses to burn with her books. The neighbor, Mrs. Blake, sent the firemen a "telephone alarm card" saying that she suspected her neighbor had books in the attic:
"Have reason to suspect attic; 11 No. Elm, City. --- E. B."
"That would be Mrs. Blake, my neighbor;" said the woman, reading the initials.
After this episode, Beatty suspects Montag may have stolen a book because Montag has been asking questions about books and the role firemen play. So, suspcion of someone having books can be determined by behavior. Montag begins acting differently and becomes a suspect in Beatty's mind.
The other way the firemen can determine which houses have books is the Mechanical Hound. The firemen would use tips from other people (i.e. Mrs. Blake) and their own investigations; then they would use the Mechanical Hound to track people and their books.
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