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In Fahrenheit 451, what does Montag do to the Bible to try to get Faber to agree to help?

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Emilia | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 4, 2013 at 10:30 PM via web

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In Fahrenheit 451, what does Montag do to the Bible to try to get Faber to agree to help?

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amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 5, 2013 at 12:49 AM (Answer #1)

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Faber is the only one Montag can think of that might help him or mentor him with his interest in literature. Montag recalls that he has Faber's contact information after meeting with him in a park sometime in the past. Montag retrieves Faber's contact information and calls him on the phone. In order to bring up the subject of literature, Montag chooses to ask Faber if and how many Bibles are left. Faber refuses to answer the question for fear that the firemen might come to his house, so he claims not to know and hangs up. 

Montag then goes to Faber's house with the Bible in hand. Montag does this to show that he's not afraid to carry, display, and talk about literature. This strategy works. When Montag first arrives, Faber is defensive and looks tired; after Faber sees the book in Montag's hands, he opens up: 

The front door opened slowly. Faber peered out, looking very old in the light and very fragile and very much afraid. The old man looked as if he had not been out of the house in years. He and the white plaster walls inside were much the same. There was white in the flesh of his mouth and his cheeks and his hair was white and his eyes had faded, with white in the vague blueness there. Then his eyes touched on the book under Montag's arm and he did not look so old any more and not quite as fragile. Slowly his fear went. 

Faber stares at the book as if he fears looking away will make the book vanish. Montag hands the book to Faber and he reads it. Still, Faber is afraid of being caught so he refuses to help Montag. So, Montag uses a last resort. He asks Faber if he would like to own the Bible. Faber says he'd give his right arm for it. To pressure Faber a bit more, Montag starts ripping pages from the Bible. This prompts Faber to jump up, plead with Montag to stop, and then Faber agrees to teach him and keeps the Bible. Montag leaves Faber's house listening to Faber read The Book of Job through the radio device in his ear. Montag used the Bible in order to strike an alliance with Faber but also as a bargaining chip. 

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