In Fahrenheit 451, what are the goals of the hobos that Montag meets outside the city?

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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After fleeing the dystopian city and traveling into the wilderness, Montag meets a group of hobo intellectuals who remember complete works of literature as a way to preserve the knowledge of the past without being arrested or bothered by the authorities. Granger explains to Montag that they have a technique that allows them to remember entire books and are waiting for an opportunity to share their valuable knowledge with society. The hobo intellectuals are aware that the dystopian nation will eventually collapse and are patiently waiting for the perfect opportunity to share their knowledge with others in the hopes of establishing a literate society. For the time being, they view themselves as simple "dust-jackets for books" and are responsible for safeguarding and preserving valuable works of literature. After the atomic bomb destroys the city at the end of the novel, Montag leads the group of hobo intellectuals towards the ruins. Once they reach the destroyed city, they plan on sharing the information and complete works of literature they have remembered with the survivors in an attempt to recreate and establish a literate society.

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belarafon eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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After escaping the city, Montag comes across a group of seeming hobos living outside on the railroad tracks. After they watch the government pretend to catch Montag on a portable TV, the leader, Granger, explains their mission:

"All we want to do is keep the knowledge we think we will need, intact and safe... We'll pass the books on to our children, by word of mouth, and let our children wait, in turn, on the other people."
(Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451, Google Books)

He and the others memorize books and try to pass them on to other people. When the war is over, Granger hopes to use his people to reintroduce the ideas and knowledge in books to society. Although he knows that they cannot save every book this way, he hopes that their work will keep humanity from falling into a Dark Age of its own creation. Montag chooses to join them, walking the railroad tracks; it is the first truly independent choice he has ever made.

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