In Fahrenheit 451, why does Guy believe the rest of the world hates the United States?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Montag's understanding of a "rumor" as to why people might dislike the United States is reflective of the change he is undergoing.  From being an automaton that has accepted the conditions of the world around him, Montag begins to emerge as a critical thinker.  Montag recognizes that there might be some problems with the world around him and his place in it.  He begins to distance himself from the world in which he lives through his ability to think.  It is this idea of thinking about the world and one's place in it that enables him to postulate as to why the rest of the world would hate the United States:

Is it because we're having so much fun at home we've forgotten the world? Is is because we're so rich and the rest of the world's so poor and we just don't care if they are? I've heard rumors; the world is starving, but we're well fed. Is it true, the world works hard and we play? Is that why we're hated so much?

Montag makes some important arguments in his belief as to why the United States would be hated.  The first is that he recognizes an inherent unfairness in the wealth of one nation and the toil of others.  Montag asserts that the United States is very wealthy while the rest of the world is not.  Coupled with the frivolous way in which energy is used in the United States, Montag makes the argument that the United States is resented.  At the same time, Montag argues that what is being presented by those in the position of power, such as Beatty, is not necessarily the case.  Rather than a world in which people are easily placated with technological advances such as wall to wall television and where all is seen to be well, there is an imbalance of power in the world. Montag's articulation coincides with his questioning of the world around him. In being able to emerge to a new understanding about who he is and who he should be, Montag makes the argument that resentment and lack of power are contributing factors to why the rest of the world hates the United States.

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