How does Faber define the value of books in Fahrenheit 451? Do you think his definitions are accurate or not?

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luannw | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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Faber says, "Books show the pores in the face of life."  He means that books allow a person to think and to form his own opinions and ideas based on reality, even if the reality isn't nice or pretty.  Books allowed many angles to be viewed in order for a person to have well-rounded information.  Faber goes on to say that the knowledge that is in books is out there in the world and can be gained through vast experience, but most people don't have the means or opportunity to get all the experience needed, so that's where books came in.  Books, he says, is where the "average chap" will see this information.  The definition is accurate for the society of the story.  There the people only know what is told to them in a very watered-down way  Beatty tells Montag earlier in the story that because people were offended by some of the books, they were cleansed of anything deemed offensive to the point where they no longer had any meaning or value because they were so bland.  That caused people to stop reading and to stop thinking.

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Michael Ugulini | (Level 3) Educator

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Faber defines the value of books in Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 by saying that it is not books that Montag needs, but some of the things—the ideas, beliefs, views, life examples, lessons and such—that are (and were) in books. To Faber the content and the thoughts of writers in books are what define books—their true value.

To Faber, books were “…only one type of receptacle where we stored a lot of things we were afraid we might forget.” Books, to Faber, have value in that they house great thoughts and are the results of diligent study undertaken by men and woman. Faber understands that the magic of books is not in the physical asset itself (as there are a lot of poorly-written and poorly thought-out books in the world). The value of books is in what they say—if the messages conveyed in a book are carefully constructed and written down due to great study, research, and contemplative consideration.

To Faber, the value of a great book is in the detail it provides. A valuable book looks at the human condition in detail and presents the author's thoughts on it. A book of value does not quickly skim over the human condition and haphazardly report on it without engaging in some deep thinking first. Faber understands that a great book shows the truth of life, whether good or bad, and digs deep to offer new insight into the human condition and the ways of humankind.

I believe that Faber’s definitions are accurate. There is much knowledge to be gained from what is written in great books, whether they are fiction or non-fiction.

For example, a great novel such as The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck gives a reader an understanding of the tough times people and farmers faced in the Great Depression. Through reading this novel, one can get an understanding of those who migrated to California to seek a better life, and what they endured. One can also glean much concerning the Dust Bowl and how it affected society in America. Therefore, books are educational resources that entertain while enlightening us as well.

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