by Ray Bradbury
Fahrenheit 451 Theme of Wisdom and Knowledge
In Fahrenheit 451, wisdom and knowledge are gained through both experience and scholarship—just like here at Shmoop. Most important is critical thinking—challenging ideas rather than accepting them as absolutely correct.
Mentors and teachers are integral to this process, not only for passing on knowledge but for opening the door to independent thought, so it's really convenient that Montag runs into a group of wild professors in the forest. We like to imagine they look something like this.
Along with Faber, these guys do a great job of passing on their wisdom and knowledge of books to Montag. Once the city is conveniently destroyed, these guys are tasked with reestablishing society. We couldn't think of a better—and more knowledgeable—crew to take it on.
Questions About Wisdom and Knowledge
- Of Montag’s three mentors – Clarisse, Faber, and Granger – who is the most knowledgeable? What are the differences between their philosophies? Who’s got it "right"?
- If Clarisse went and got herself killed, does that mean she wasn't very wise?
- Does Montag really need books to find the wisdom he’s looking for? Or is he misguided?
Chew on This
Fahrenheit 451 proves that wisdom comes only from experience, not from words or books.
Fahrenheit 451 proves that books are integral to learning and knowledge.