In Fahrenheit 451, why do people read less and play more?

Expert Answers
Kristen Lentz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

According to Captain Beatty, the role of the fireman and the destruction books is a necessary occurrence to maintain the order and well-being of society:

"We must all be alike. Not everyone is born free and equal, as the Constitution says, but everyone is made equal. Each man the image of every other; then all are happy, for there are no mountains to make them cower, to judge themselves against. So! A book is a loaded gun in the house next door. Burn it."

Books, full of contradictory knowledge, ideas, and philosophy, pose a threat to the delicate balance of society in Fahrenheit 451.  The captain perceives literature to be as dangerous as a "loaded gun" with the potential to undermine and destroy not only people's happiness but the fragile balance of society, because in reading books, people might discover new outlets of thought, imagination, or possibilities that might make them yearn for some unattainable goal, something that they cannot have.