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Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451

by Ray Bradbury

Rules and Order Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

"It is computed that eleven thousand persons have at several times suffered death rather than submit to break eggs at the smaller end."

Mildred sat across the hall from him. "What does it mean? It doesn't mean anything!" (1.882-3)

Oh, the irony. At its heart, Fahrenheit 451 is about rebellion – which is what this egg line from Gulliver’s Travels refers to. The idea is that, regardless of the rules themselves, there’s something in humans that simply rebels for the sake of rebelling. It’s just like the epigraph to the novel (see "What's Up With the Epigraph"). There’s no need to write the other way on lined paper, but you should do it just because the human spirit doesn’t like rigidity.

Quote #2

"Surely you remember the boy in your own school class who was exceptionally ‘bright,’ did most of the reciting and answering while the others sat like so many leaden idols, hating him. And wasn't it this bright boy you selected for beatings and tortures after hours? Of course it was. We must all be alike. Not everyone born free and equal, as the Constitution says, but everyone made equal. Each man the image of every other; then all are happy, for there are no mountains to make them cower, to judge themselves against. So! A book is a loaded gun in the house next door. Burn it. Take the shot from the weapon. Breach man's mind. Who knows who might be the target of the well-read man? Me? I won't stomach them for a minute." (1.614)

Beatty cites many different reasons for the abolishment of books, but this one is perhaps the most terrifying. Fear and jealousy imagine intellectualism as a weapon. Bradbury reminds us that those who can not fight with words or ideas use violence as a substitute.

Quote #3

That was all there was to it, really. An hour of monologue, a poem, a comment, and then without even acknowledging the fact that Montag was a fireman, Faber with a certain trembling, wrote his address on a slip of paper. "For your file," he said, "in case you decide to be angry with me." (2.38)

The rules don’t even have to be enforced on the citizens in this novel – they are self-imposed.

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