by Ray Bradbury
Fahrenheit 451 Literature and Writing Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Part.Paragraph)
"I've heard rumours; the world is starving, but we're well-fed. Is it true, the world works hard and we play? Is that why we're hated so much? I've heard the rumours about hate, too, once in a long while, over the years. Do you know why? I don't, that's sure! Maybe the books can get us half out of the cave. They just might stop us from making the same damn insane mistakes!" (2.27)
It’s possible this is a reference to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, in which we’re all ignorant and, you know, stuck in cave together. The enlightened man is the man who removes his shackles and walks out of the cave into the real world. The idea here is that books are what enable us to do so.
"So now do you see why books are hated and feared? They show the pores in the face of life. The comfortable people want only wax moon faces, poreless, hairless, expressionless." (2.129-30)
It is this desire for comfort that has allowed the government to rule the way that it does. Very little enforcement is needed, as the citizens are essentially doped up by their own shallow happiness. Books threaten this happiness by reminding the citizens what the rest of the world is like.
Mrs. Bowles stood up and glared at Montag. "You see? I knew it, that's what I wanted to prove! I knew it would happen! I've always said, poetry and tears, poetry and suicide and crying and awful feelings, poetry and sickness; all that mush! Now I've had it proved to me. You're nasty, Mr. Montag, you're nasty!" (2.338)
Montag has done Mrs. Bowles a favor in getting her to feel something, anything, even if it’s negative. Remember when he earlier told Mildred that she had never really been bothered by anything? Exactly; he’s dragged this woman out of the emotionless sterility of her world.