Summarize Beatty's explanation of how the need for firemen arose?

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thetall eNotes educator| Certified Educator

According to Beatty, the fireman’s job started around the time of the Civil war, but according to the fireman’s rule book, the profession started much earlier. Initially, many people read books, but with developments in film and photography came the need for short and precise information. Soon after, people lost interest in books and instead opted for other sources of media that were deemed to be entertaining. Books were believed to contain information that sparked differences among the people who in turn ended up being unhappy as others thought themselves to be superior to others. Everybody was supposed to be equal; this was the only way to ensure happiness. Because man sought happiness and books were a cause of unhappiness and inequality, they had to be eliminated. Once all houses were made fireproof, the fireman’s role changed. Unlike his previous role of putting out fires, the fireman in the new order was charged with the responsibility of guarding everyone’s peace of mind by eliminating all books.

marilynn07 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Many different segments of society were offended by ideas that were in print. Authors attempted to mollify those various segments to the point that most all printed matter ended up being much the same. After a while, a decision was made simply to burn books.

Beatty explains that society needs the firemen to protect them from unhappiness and discontent caused from independent thought and reading contradictory ideas found in books.

Beatty's explanation twists history to allude that even Benjamin Franlkin burned books.

By eliminating free thought, books, and alone time, society is more ordered and controlled. Everyone is equal because they are made equal by the social constraints that are in place.


writergal06 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Beatty explains that conflicts and confusion kept arising within society, causing society to break into factions and groups, dividing against themselves. Books that promoted those philosophies that caused dissensions began to be burned, in order to unity society. In Beatty's mind, its the government's way of making everyone equal, uniform, the same. Books promoted individual thought, which promotes individuality, which is against equality. The firemen were made to unite the communities by eliminating independent thoughts.