What is the importance of knowledge in Fahrenheit 451?

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If you would believe the powers that be in Fahrenheit 451, the importance of knowledge is immaterial. The authorities that control the government and, by extension, the firemen, seem to believe that it is in their best interest to create a static world. In this world, people would not...

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If you would believe the powers that be in Fahrenheit 451, the importance of knowledge is immaterial. The authorities that control the government and, by extension, the firemen, seem to believe that it is in their best interest to create a static world. In this world, people would not change for the most part. Civilians would live a predominately hedonistic life devoid of individual thought. Such certainly seems to be the case with Mildred, who not only seems content for the most part with her life of interactive television serials but also becomes openly fearful and hysterical when Montag attempts to share knowledge with her.

Behavior such as this seems to be the basis for Beatty's claim that literary knowledge only creates suffering and strife. However, Montag is far too moved by the woman from the beginning of the story's sacrifice to be dissuaded from his search. He feels certain that there must "be something there" for the woman to have done such a thing.

The conclusion to which Montag eventually comes is that knowledge is an important tool in avoiding repeating the mistakes of the past. Indeed, the world has already suffered two nuclear wars at this point in the story. At the end of the story, the city is once again destroyed in a nuclear bombing, and the exiles muse on how, without knowledge, mankind is doomed to repeat the same mistakes.

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