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In Ray Bradbury's science fiction classic Fahrenheit 451, the significance of Montag's discussion with Professor Faber lies in the former's growing willingness to question the authority he has heretofore served so blindly and obediently. Montag has already begun his transformative process -- a process begun with the self-immolation of the elderly woman who chooses to burn herself alive with her books rather than surrender to the totalitarian system that would deprive her of knowledge and the ability to think for herself. Montag's theft of one of the woman's books, and his subsequent quest for more knowledge regarding the nature of books and the reasons for their banishment from society, is the basis for his later acts of rebellion. It is the conversation with Faber, though, that provides Montag the context with which to better understand the reason some will die for their books and the reason the government cannot allow that, for instance, the refusal of some, like the professor and like the old lady, to countenance the government's autocratic ways. Faber and Captain Beatty are different sides of the same coin. The former understands and loves literature for what it provides and represents; the latter remains determined to destroy books for those very same reasons.
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