In Fahrenheit 451, what is the official slogan of the firemen?
In Montag’s society, the firemen do not put out fires. They start fires to burn books. Montag explains the firemen’s official slogan to Clarisse, a teenager from his neighborhood who wonders at the way things are and does not just accept them. She asks him if he ever reads the books he burns, and he tells her that it is against the law.
"It's fine work. Monday burn Millay, Wednesday Whitman, Friday Faulkner, burn 'em to ashes, then burn the ashes. That's our official slogan." (Part I)
In fact, the firemen have passed the rumor that things have always been this way. Firemen never put out fires, they just started them in order to get rid of the books society outlawed. Before Clarisse asked him the question, Montag never really thought much about it, shown in this echange with Clarisse:
"No. Houses have always been fireproof, take my word for it."
"Strange. I heard once that a long time ago houses used to burn by accident and they needed firemen to stop the flames." (Part I)
Montag laughs at this, and Clarisse asks him why he laughs. She also asks him why he answers her questions immediately without thinking. Montag has been brainwashed like all of the other firemen to give rote answers to questions like these. He is not supposed to doubt his work.
Before this conversation with Clarisse, Montag never really stopped to think. He did not think about his job or the history of firemen. It really gets to the root of his society, because the reason why they banned books is to keep everyone happy and comfortable so they never questioned or thought about these subjects. After this conversation, Montag does begin to question. He even steals a book to see what all of the fuss is about, and his life is never the same.