Fahrenheit 451 Questions and Answers
by Ray Bradbury

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In Fahrenheit 451, according to Faber, what three things are missing from their society?

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The three things that Faber mentions that are missing in our society correlate well with the three reasons that he gives Montag for the importance of reading.  When Montag goes to Faber's home, he is confused, upset, and just realizing how unhappy he is--along with almost everyone that he knows.  He wants to know why, and he thinks that the reasons must somehow have to do with books, since books are missing in their society.  Faber confirms that suspicion, and tells Montag of three things that reading can do for people.

1.  Reading has quality, or pores.  This means that it shows life as it REALLY is, not some airbrushed, happy version of what life really is.  If you think about television shows, their conflict always wraps up nicely within 30 minutes or so, and everyone is hunky-dory in the end.  Real life isn't like that.  It's messy, it's hard, and it puts people through a lot.  Books convey that, and in Montag's society people can't handle real life; when they do, they break down, like Millie does with her suicide attempt.

2.  Reading provides leisure, or the time to digest, process and think about information.  In Montag's society, everything is super fast-paced, and no one has the time to process or THINK about anything.  Even Millie herself says to Montag that when she's upset, rather than think about why, and trying to solve the problem, she just goes out and drives really, really fast to get her mind off of things.  Their society needs to just sit back and think for once; Faber says that books provided that leisure.

3.  Books prompt people to act on what they have learned.  No one acts on anything in Montag's society.  They are lazy, indulgent, and don't ever rebel, philosophize, form groups or protest.  They just take the information given to them, and conform; those that do act out, those rare few, are stifled.

These three deficiencies--which are also the things that books provided--make the people in Montag's society pretty miserable, and in the book, Montag journeys to a realization of that fact. I hope that those thoughts helped; good luck!

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