What did Captain Beatty tell Montag in part 1? What are the 3 (or more) main things in Beatty`s speech? What does that express in the book?In part one, when Montag is sick and Beatty visits him. He...

What did Captain Beatty tell Montag in part 1? What are the 3 (or more) main things in Beatty`s speech? What does that express in the book?

In part one, when Montag is sick and Beatty visits him. He tells him why firemen burn book, and the significance of book burning...  Please help me... Thanks~

Expert Answers
luannw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is an important part of the story because it explains how the society seen in "Fahrenheit 451" came about, and speaks to the message that Bradbury was trying to get across with his book which was people should work to prevent that sort of society from becoming reality.  Beatty tells Montag that the society came to be because people wanted things to be simpler and faster.  They didn't want to take the time to read an entire book or an entire newspaper even.  They wanted to know just what was necessary for them and then move on.  Consequently, books became condensed to the point of simply being a sentence describing the plot.  Along with the boring blandness that came with condensing books came the push to "cleanse" books of all material not deemed politically correct.  That cleansing, done for the sake of keeping people happy and free from upset, made books very boring.  Beatty explains that these two trends - desire for speed of information along with the white-washing of information - created the dictate that books were bad and they were needless.  Beatty says books caused people to be unhappy because books told the truth or books showed possibility of what could be.  So books were bad.  Since people wanted information fast and only relevant to themselves, they did not want to take the time to read a book.  Finally, he says that to keep people happy and occupied, the government pushed for recreation and schooling at younger ages so that the children were taken from home as babies and put in schools.  Little nurturing was done, but people were encouraged to partake of mindless contests and sports.  Those are the three main points that Beatty brings out to Montag in part one.

kmj23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When Montag is sick, Captain Beatty goes to visit him. He makes a speech in which he explains to Montag the history and importance of the fireman system. We can summarize this speech in the following way:

  1. The fireman system began around the time of the Civil War (possibly even earlier) but came to the fore with the arrival of photography and motion pictures in the early twentieth century.
  2. With the growth of these new types of media, books became less important. Books were watered down into summaries and movies as people began to favor entertainment over learning. This change was also reflected in the school curriculum, where traditional subjects, like humanities, became less important.
  3. People also turned their backs on books for fear of offending minority communities, like Mormons and Baptists. Magazines became a "blend of vanilla tapioca," for example, meaning that the content of entertainment was deliberately created to not offend or upset anyone.

In essence, Beatty argues that censorship came from the people, not the government. It was the people who turned their backs on books and learning because they came to view them as dangerous and offensive.