Fahrenheit 451, The Sieve and the Sand What does this quote mean? Does it have to do with censoring books? How they view life? "And the Government, seeing how advantageous it was to have people...

Fahrenheit 451, The Sieve and the Sand

What does this quote mean? Does it have to do with censoring books? How they view life?

"And the Government, seeing how advantageous it was to have people reading only about passionate lips and the fist in the stomach, circled the situation with your fire-eaters" (89).

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amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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In this quote, Faber is explaining to Montag how the general public came to not read intellectual material any longer. He recalls a semester when only one student signed up for a Drama class "from Aeschylus to O'Neill." He then waxes poetic with a line about how nobody is reading newspapers anymore. "I remember the newspapers dying like huge moths." With this general decline of public interest in academics and critical thinking came an increase in public consumption of shallow, superficial interests. The public became more interested in dumbed-down entertainment. Therefore, they were watching and/or reading about famous beautiful people ("passionate lips") and were only entertained by low-brow comedy and violence ("fist in the stomach"). The government capitalized on the public's mental atrophy and began censoring and burning anything of intellectual value that was left. The government had an easier time censoring/burning the classics and literature of real value when the public is preoccupied by superficial, over-sexualized images ("passionate lips") and pointless violence ("fist in the stomach"). 

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