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In Fahrenheit 451, what does Faber say about freedom of speech and the consequences of...

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hill98 | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 27, 2012 at 2:28 PM via web

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In Fahrenheit 451, what does Faber say about freedom of speech and the consequences of losing it?

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belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 28, 2012 at 6:55 PM (Answer #1)

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Montag meets Faber in the park, and is drawn to him because he believes Faber might be reading. Instead of turning him in, Montag remembers Faber and goes to him for help. Faber is a self-described coward, a man who saw the deterioration of society and the removal of literature and said nothing:

"I'm one of the innocents who could have spoken up... And when finally they set the structure to burn the books, using the, firemen, I grunted a few times and subsided, for there were no others grunting or yelling with me, by then.
[...]
So few want to be rebels any more. And out of those few, most, like myself, scare easily."
(Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451, Google Books)

When freedom of speech is lost, the innocent man is subjected to mob rule. Without the process or the authority to speak on behalf of books and reading, Faber became one of a dying breed: the intellectual without materials. Now, people have lived for so long without the freedom to speak their minds that they are indoctrinated to remain silent; even those who might protest say nothing for fear of being thought deviant. When no single person is willing to stand up, the mob will stay down, and each individual will think that they are only protecting their own lives, but in fact they are protecting exactly the thing they secretly hate: the collectivization of society, and the destruction of the individual.

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