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Fahrenheit 451 Essay

  • Date Submitted: 11/03/2011 06:19 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 62.4 
  • Words: 605
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Captain Beatty, the antagonist in Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury, is one of the most well-read characters in the novel. He can quote literature to make his point and use it to overpower others. In the past, he, like Montag, has searched through the pages of books for the answer that he does not know the question to. Yet, instead of becoming a protector of literature, he is the scourge of books, leading his firemen to burn down the words of philosophers and writers and taking with them the knowledge that the books hold. Because of the influence of society, the lack of a mentor, and himself, Beatty fails to understand literature and become a full individual.
The society of Fahrenheit 451 played a large role in the conversion of Beatty into what he is, the Captain of the Firemen. Beatty, as a reader of books himself, “The important thing for you to remember, Montag, is we’re the Happiness […] we stand against the small tide of those who want to make everyone unhappy with conflicting theory and thought. […] Don’t let the torrent of melancholy and drear philosophy drown our world.” Having been tainted by this shallow society based on instant pleasure, Beatty ends up staying with the society’s values by finding instant pleasure, entertainment, and power: as the captain of the fireman. Surrounded by ta bog of people like Mildred, Beatty’s spark of curiosity could not be nurtured. So like a leaf in a swamp, Beatty was slowly reabsorbed by society to become part of it.
Beatty, unlike Montag, was probably alone in his quest to understand books. He had no Clarisse, Faber, not Granger to guide him in a healthy path. He had no help when he came across the Origin of species and the Bible, nor could he understand the Declaration of Independence after reading the writings of Karl Marx. “What traitors books can be! You think they’re backing you up, and then they turn on you. “(108) Beatty, by saying this line, shows his own frustration. Without a mentor, he is unable to...


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