1.) In Fahrenheit 451, why does America look so good?
2.) Who is Faber? How is he a coward?
3.) What are the three things needed for books to be useful?
4.) How does he get the professor to help him and what does the professor give him?
5.) Faber says that, "Those who don't build, burn." What does he mean? Can you apply that to our world today?
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The world in Fahrenheit 451 is marked by oppression and extreme limitations of freedom of speech, press, and publication. The authorities even condemn and criminalize freedom of thinking. Clarisse goes missing one day, and we can assume that she has been taken care of by the state (government). Today's ideal America, by comparison, is defined by its promise of liberty and freedom. The world in the novel presents a nightmare scenario (a dystopia) of a future in which our freedoms are given up and/or taken away.
Faber is a college professor who calls himself a coward. Faber says this because he loves the knowledge that comes from books, but he hides and does nothing to change the oppressive society he lives in. However, the vast majority of the population do not even have the awareness to criticize themselves the way Faber does. And in the end, he helps Montag and shows his bravery in challenging the authorities.
The three things needed for books to be useful are quality and texture, leisure, and freedom. Faber discusses these with Montag. Regarding quality and texture, Faber says a book has "pores." A book opens up ideas in itself and in the reader that makes people uncomfortable. A book makes people think. Regarding leisure, Faber says we need time to read and think about what we've read. This means time not spent on television and driving around at ridiculous speeds. Regarding freedom, Faber says we need the ability to act on what we've learned.
The professor at first reluctantly and later willingly helps Montag by educating him. He also gives him a green radio device to put in his ear. This way, Faber will be able to talk to Montag if he needs advice.
The statement "Those who don't build must burn" simply means that people who do not take part in learning and constructing knowledge are actually "burning" knowledge and culture. In other words, if you are not doing creative or constructive things for the world, you are burning it down. This is to be taken literally and metaphorically. People are not building books; they are burning them. People who are not building an educated culture are destroying it.
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