Fahrenheit 451 Questions and Answers
by Ray Bradbury

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In Fahrenheit 451, what is one of the three things Faber says is missing from society?

In Fahrenheit 451, Faber says that three things are missing from society: high-quality information, the freedom to digest that information, and the ability to act based on what people learn from the interaction of those two things.

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In part two, Montag visits Faber's home in order to receive help comprehending the information he has been reading. During his visit, Faber elaborates on the importance of literature to society. Faber explains to Montag that there are three necessary elements missing from their dystopian society. He tells Montag that their society is in desperate need of quality information. In the dystopian nation, information has been diluted and watered down to the point that classic works of literature no longer resemble themselves. The population consumes mindless entertainment and intellectual pursuits are considered illegal. Without quality information, the population is becoming increasingly ignorant, intolerant, and violent.

The second essential element that society is missing is appropriate leisure time to digest quality information. Montag's society is fast-paced and immediate. Citizens no longer have leisure time to enjoy and analyze literature. Peacefully digesting quality information is an essential element to cultivating a benevolent, intelligent society.

The third element that society is missing concerns the right to carry out actions based on the first two essential elements. This aspect is significant because it is the end result of studying and learning quality information. Once a person attains quality information, digests and analyzes it, they are influenced to alter their behavior and act upon what they've read. Literature inspires individuals to view the world from different perspectives and act upon written ideas, which is why the authoritative government has censored books.

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In part two, "The Sieve and the Sand," Faber and Montag are discussing what needs to happen in order for society to appreciate literacy again. Faber says that three things must exist together in order for literacy to survive again:

"Number one, as I said: quality of information. Number two: leisure to digest it. And number three: the right to carry out actions based on what we learn from the interaction of the first two" (85).

The problem with the first element of literacy is that the firemen have been burning books for who knows how long. Quality information has been watered down and obliterated for so long that every bit of information that the society currently has is based on hedonism, not on the quality of ideas and concepts garnered from history or great thinkers throughout history.

The second element that Montag's society needs is not necessarily more leisure time, but for the populace to appreciate the quality information found in books. They need time to learn about the importance of literacy and then time to digest it and to appreciate it.

But the most important of these three elements is the third one. At the moment of Faber and Montag's discussion, they fear the consequences of reading, learning, and literacy. Without the third option—the freedom to be literate and to act on ideas gained from books—the other two elements are obsolete. That is why Faber and Montag decide to attack the firemen, those whom the public fears, so that the third element can make the first two possible.

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One of the things that Faber highlights as missing from the society is leisure, the leisure to digest information received. The people are so brain washed and mind controlled by everything around them such that no one has the time to think about or process the information in their environment. Faber acknowledges that indeed, people have off hours, but even during these off hours their minds are not used to decipher information. Instead, people’s minds remain fully engaged in futile activities such as playing games or following the mind controlling broadcasts aired in the television parlors. The televised content is not only controlling but also rushed such that the viewers have no time to question or analyze what it is they have been fed with. This is unlike books which Faber points out a reader can “Play God” to by pausing from time to time to ponder on what they have just read.

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"Number One: quality of information. Number Two: leisure to digest it. Number Three: the right to carry out actions based on what we learn from the interaction of the first two."

These are the three things that Faber says society needs if it is to recover. Society needs access to good books again, not just comics. Society also needs the time to actually read the books and think about what they read. Society currently spends all its time not only not reading, but seeking thrills that leave out all room for thought. And lastly, society needs the freedom to act on what it learned from reading and thinking about books. These are the three things needed to help society become healthy again.