After escaping the city, Montag floats down the river and eventually comes ashore. Seeing a fire in the distance, he finds that his reaction is mixed; he knows fire as a destructive force, but this fire seems to draw him, as if welcoming. He discovers that it is a "hobo camp," the sort that is derided by the people of the city; the inhabitants are educated readers, devoted to the cause of memorizing books and spreading their knowledge:
"This is Fred Clement, former occupant of the Thomas Hardy chair at Cambridge... 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... Reverend Padover here gave a few lectures thirty years ago... Myself: I wrote a book called The Fingers in the Glove; the Proper Relationship between the Individualand Society..."
(Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451, Google Books)
Each of the men is a reader, devoted to the knowledge in books and the worth of individual opinion. Because they memorize books and then destroy them, the content of the books cannot be destroyed unless they themselves are killed, and no one can prove that they know books by heart. Montag, after watching the city's destruction, decides to join with them; they have techniques that will draw the books he read from his subconscious, so he can recite them and help them bring books back to the world.