What are the people in the beetle trying to do on the wide boulevard? Why?

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luannw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the last section of the book, "Burning Bright", after Montag has killed Beatty and is on the run, he sees a car, seeming to aim for him.  We are told that the cars, or "beetles", travel at speeds of 120-130 mph or more in the cities; that they span the distance of multiple city blocks in seconds.  Montag feels certain that this beetle is looking for him and that it is the police.  He sees the car coming toward him and he tries desperately to get out of the way.  The leg into which the Mechanical Hound shot the numbing procaine is keeping Montag from being able to manuever efficiently.  As the car gets near him, he stumbles and falls with his arm extended.  The tip of his finger has a black tread mark on it after the car passed, but it did pass him.  It didn't stop and no police got out to arrest Montag. Then he realized that it wasn't the police at all - it was kids out joy-riding and doing what they often do.  They zero in on some poor unsuspecting person and either literally run him down or terrorize him by making him think he is going to be killed.  Earlier in the story, Clarisse said she was afraid of kids her age because they had such little regard for life and they all drove much too fast.  This is typical of the futuristic society Bradbury created in the book.  To be entertained, kids resorted to terror and killing.

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Fahrenheit 451

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