What three things does Faber say they are missing from their society in Fahrenheit 451?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The three things missing from society are quality, leisure, and the right to act on what you learn.

Faber is an old man that Montag meets because he is desperate to find out about the books.  Montag has been questioning his society, and he thinks that the books are the secret to unlocking happiness for him.  Faber gives him a lecture on the three things missing from society now that books are outlawed.

Number one: Do you know why books such as this are so important? Because they have quality. And what does the word quality mean? To me it means texture. This book has pores. It has features. This book can go under the microscope. (Part II)

Books were feared, according to Faber, because they put society under a microscope.  Good books showed life in detail, and mediocre ones just did so quickly, but they all showed life.

Books differ from the television shows that Montag's society has because they were honest and thoughtful.  They were also slower, and gave people a chance to think about what they read, which brings Faber to his second point.

Leisure, Faber cried, meant time to think.  You cannot do that when your society goes a hundred miles an hour, literally and figuratively.  Montag’s society makes sure people never really have time to think.

"Off-hours, yes. But time to think? If you're not driving a hundred miles an hour, at a clip where you can't think of anything else but the danger, then you're playing some game or sitting in some room where you can't argue with the fourwall televisor. (Part II)

People are always driving too fast to think, or at home they are only watching television.  There is no real slow, think time.  It is just another way of controlling people. 

Faber points out that even if a person has time to think, there is a problem.

And number three: the right to carry out actions based on what we learn from the inter-action of the first two. And I hardly think a very old man and a fireman turned sour could do much this late in the game..." (Part II)

It is illegal to have a book.  It is illegal to have the knowledge, so it is illegal to act on it.  Even if Montag could get his hands on a book, what could he do with it?  His society is missing all of these freedoms, and even if he could covertly get himself a book and read it, he cannot freely act on number three.  The society is so tightly controlled that everyone fears to act.

Faber agrees to help Montag, although he is suspicious of him.  He understands that Montag is in crisis, and that he honestly does need Faber’s help.  Faber also needs people like Montag.  He is a relic of a bygone era, and he knows it.  Without people like Montag, books and the society Faber is trying to save will go extinct.

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