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This line is spoken by Faber when he and Montag are talking at his house. The basic idea of the line is that books act to keep us from doing stupid things.
In this passage, Faber is referring to the idea that when Roman emperors had parades, someone supposedly always rode alongside them telling them that they, too, were mortal. The idea was to not let them think they were gods just because the crowds were cheering for them.
Faber is saying that books can act like that for people. Books can make them realize that they don't know everything and that they are liable to make mistakes.
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