How would you explain Faber's speech in Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 in which he argues that there are three missing things in books?

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kmj23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In this speech, Faber does not argue that there are three things missing from books. In fact, he argues that books are superior to other forms of entertainment, like television, because they possess the three following things:

  • Firstly, there is the "quality of information." By this, Faber means that books contain messages which show all aspects of life. Unlike the television shows that characters like Mildred watch, books focus on an array of subject and issues, from the happy to the sad and the reflective, which make people think, instead of being passive observers.
  • Secondly, there is the "leisure to digest it." Here, Faber means that books can be closed at any time by the reader. The reader can also choose the subject and choose whether or not to accept the book's message. In short, "books can be beaten down." But this is not possible with other forms of entertainment. Viewers have no control over the programmes on the television, for example, and it's very difficult to shout over the characters or the background music.
  • Finally, there is "the right to carry out actions based on what we learn" from these first two points. This relates specifically to Faber and Montag's society, a society which censors people and discourages thought and reflection. It focuses instead on the instant gratification from fast forms of entertainment, like watching television and racing cars, which do not require a person to engage his mind. For Faber, this is a major problem and one which pushes him to rebellion. 
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Fahrenheit 451

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