Why does Beatty refer to the old woman's books as the Tower of Babel?

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dstuva's profile pic

Doug Stuva | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

The Tower of Babel represents confusion.  Beatty's society in Fahrenheit 451 doesn't want people to think.  It doesn't want confusion, which would make people have to think and make decisions. 

Books that offer different opinions would lead, according to Beatty's view, and his society's view, to people having to think and decide. 

Beatty's society wants simple-minded people who will do what they're told.  Confusion would destroy this. 

Beatty and his world will not tolerate differences of opinion, and thus, will not tolerate books. 

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The reason that Beatty says this to the woman is because, in his opinion, the books do not agree with each other. This means that they would not really be able to understand one another, and that is why they are like the Tower of Babel.

In the Bible (the book of Genesis, to be exact), a group of people were going to build a tower so high it would reach Heaven.  God did not like them trying to do this and so he made it so that they all started speaking different languages.  When this happened, they could not longer understand or talk to each other.

So it is with the books.  They don't agree, so they can't really talk to each other.

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