In Fahrenheit 451, what are the three things that Faber says are needed for books to be useful?

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belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When Montag visits Faber, he expresses the opinion that books are missing from his life, and if books are returned, things will get better. Faber disagrees:

"You're a hopeless romantic," said Faber. "It would be funny if it were not serious. It's not books you need, it's some of the things that once were in books."
(Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451, Google Books)

Faber goes on to say that there are three things needed to get the proper use out of books:

  1. Quality and texture; Faber says that books show the "pores in the face of life," which makes people uncomfortable. Books contain more reality than television, because they absorb character from physically existing.
  2. Leisure; although people have plenty of time to sit and watch television, their minds are never allowed enough leisure to relax and absorb information. Instead, they are bombarded with ads and propaganda, and can't focus on real issues.
  3. Freedom; people are so restricted by government that they can't act on their knowledge. Since books give people ideas of rebellion, the government endows firemen with the power to judge and kill dissidents. Without the ability to put their differing opinions and knowledge into action, just reading books will change nothing.

These three things are necessary for books to be of use. Even television could be used for quality learning and information, but it is deliberately controlled by government to keep people unthinking. Without those qualities, people become willing accomplices to their own subjugation.

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Fahrenheit 451

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