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Faber is the second of Montag’s three mentors and teaches him one important lesson: it’s not about the books. Books reflect life, he explains, or at least the good ones do. He’s fairly adamant about his philosophy – he calls Montag a fool and will hear nothing in the way of opposition. In this way, he’s a bit like Captain Beatty, fully fortified, mentally speaking.
So how did Faber get this way? We know that he’s an ex-professor and that he’s old enough to have watched the decline of intellectual life in his country. More important than his understanding of literature is his knowledge of how it went out of fashion – how and why people simply stopped reading. Because of this, he can more practically assess the problem with the fireman institution and more reasonably devise a way to override it. But it also limits him. He’s reluctant and even declares himself a coward. Is he a coward? Or does he do all he can with the means available to him? You tell us.