In Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, was Montag able to recover the 3 elements Faber said were missing in a world without books?    

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tinicraw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Professor Faber teaches Montag that in order for books to thrive there need to be three supporting elements accepted by society. First, the information in the books need to have substance, or as Faber calls it, quality. The second supporting element needs to be "leisure to digest it" (85). This means that people need time to read the information and time to think deeply about what they have read. Third, and probably most importantly, Faber says the following:

". . .the right to carry out actions based on what we learn from the interaction of the first two. And I hardly think a very old man and a fireman turned sour could do much this late in the game" (85).

By the end of the story, Montag does find the quality information from books preserved in the minds of a group of people who have memorized books. It probably isn't how he imagined finding the information, but it is there nonetheless. This group that Montag finds living in the wilderness outside of his city are basically wandering hobos steering clear of society to preserve their knowledge. The life these people live away from daily stress of urban living certainly gives them the second element, which is leisure time to process the information. They also create a learning community through which they can share their knowledge of the information contained in the books they have memorized. 

As far as the third element, however, which is the right to carry the knowledge within society, is not found. Yes, Montag finds the right to carry the information within the groups of people who are outcasts from society, but they don't have the means or ability to print and mass produce the books they have memorized. So, until books are reintroduced into the world's societies, the third element will not be fully recovered or realized.

Sadly, it doesn't seem like the group's goal is to pubish books again because Granger says the following:

"Someday the load we're carrying with us may help someone. But even when we had the books on hand, a long time ago, we didn't use what we got out of them. We went right on insulting the dead. We went right on spitting in the graves of all the poor ones who died before us. . . And when they ask us what we're doing, you can say, We're remembering. That's where we'll win out in the long run. And someday we'll remember so much we'll. . . dig the biggest grave of all time and shove war in and cover it up. Come on now, we're going to build a mirror factory first and put out nothing but mirrors for the next year and take a long look in them" (164).

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Fahrenheit 451

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