What are some important points implied by the choices of text or author the hobos are remembering in Fahrenheit 451?

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missy575 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Several important points are implied by the choices the hobos make regarding the texts and authors they select for remembering.

1. Montag becomes the biblical book of Ecclesiastes, which, incidentally, is ironic because Ecclesiastes has the famous time passage. It talks about how there is a time to ...

"be born and a time to die... a time to kill and a time to heal..."   (Ecclesiastes 3)

This is signifincant because Montag's life for the last several days had fulfilled the meaning of the quote. He had moments wherein apathy was acceptable, and moments now wherein apathy is unacceptable. He had to let go of people and embrace new. He had to be born into a new life, but not before dying to the old one. This book choice fits his character.

2. All of the men in the group represent institutions that demonstrate great thought and who have paved the way for the intellectual curiosity and strengthening of man:

Fred Clement, former occupant of the Thomas Hardy chair at Cambridge in the years before it became an Atomic Engineering School. This other is Dr. Simmons from U.C.L.A., a specialist in Ortega y Gasset; Professor West here did quite a bit for ethics, an ancient study now, for Columbia University quite some years ago. Reverend Padover here gave a few lectures thirty years ago and lost his flock between one Sunday and the next for his views. He's been bumming with us some time now. Myself: I wrote a book called The Fingers in the Glove; the Proper Relationship between the Individual and Society, and here I am!

These institutions and specific references to the human condition demonstrate men who understood relationships and how people work together. There is also a man who did "quite a bit for ethics" which means he studied human morality.

"I am Plato's Republic. Like to read Marcus Aurelius? Mr. Simmons is Marcus."

"How do you do?" said Mr. Simmons.

"Hello," said Montag.

"I want you to meet Jonathan Swift, the author of that evil political book, Gulliver's Travels! And this other fellow is Charles Darwin, and-this one is Schopenhauer, and this one is Einstein, and this one here at my elbow is Mr. Albert Schweitzer, a very kind philosopher indeed. Here we all are, Montag. Aristophanes and Mahatma Gandhi and Gautama Buddha and Confucius and Thomas Love Peacock and Thomas Jefferson and Mr. Lincoln, if you please. We are also Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John."

The religious references and scientific references demonstrate balance between thoughts. Both of these disiplines are worth study and they can conflict with each other, BUT they can also compliment each other. The political and human rights references are significant because the premises behind these peoples' work is now being ignored in their society.

3. Montag's final biblical allusion to the book of Revelation represents an important choice because it demonstrates the need for a society to heal and repair itself, just like the Bible suggests will happen when the earth ends and heaven begins:

And on either side of the river was there a tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month; And the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.