July 18, 2012
“The Importance of Literature”
1. Quote: “ ‘Come on, woman!’ The woman knelt among the books, touching the drenched leather and cardboard, reading the gilt titles with her fingers while her eyes accused Montag. ‘You can't ever have my books,’ she said.” (Bradbury 35)
Explanation: The woman knew the firemen would never take her books away because she had read them. She had their knowledge and words inside her. Knowledge is something that no one can take away from you. Even though the books would be burned physically, the words and stories the books contained would live on inside her! The fact that this woman died with her book shows Montag that books must have something special that the government doesn't want them to know about. It also shows how important books are, even though today we seem to take them for granted.
2. Quote: “ ‘It's not just the woman that died,’ said Montag. ‘Last night I thought about all that kerosene I've used in the past ten years. And I thought about books. And for the first time I realized that a man was behind each one of the books. A man had to think them up. A man had to take a long time to put them down on paper. And I'd never even thought that thought before.’ ” (Bradbury 49)
Explanation: Montag for the first time saw that he was not only destroying a
nonliving thing, but also destroying the person who wrote that book. He was destroying something that took maybe years and lots of thought and effort to make. He was destroying the author’s existence. Montag realized that maybe these books could help him solve his problems and figure out what to do with his life. This also shows how books aren't just pages, but a man and his time, efforts, and thoughts written down for a purpose. Literature is important and has a purpose and Montag realizes here.
3. Quote: “ ‘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.’ ” (Bradbury 55-6)
Explanation: While it would be easier if everyone were the same, it wouldn't make everyone truly happy! It might trick them into thinking that they're happy, like what's happened with the people in the book, but it wouldn't be sincere happiness. Also, there's only so much fun you can take before it's not fun anymore. Too much fake happiness and forced fun can turn anyone suicidal and can make people kill, just like the kids did in the book. Books help people think about something for themselves and have their own opinion and that's why they're illegal in this book because the government wants a bunch of drones, they don't want anyone to have their own opinion.
4. Quote: “ ‘Colored people don't like Little Black Sambo. Burn it. White people don't feel good about Uncle Tom's Cabin. Burn it. Someone's written a book on tobacco and cancer of the lungs? The cigarette people are weeping? Burn the book. Serenity, Montag. Peace, Montag.’ ” (Bradbury 57)
Explanation: Books may raise anger, sadness and tears, or even happiness. The people in this book haven't felt real or even any emotions about anything in their lives. The emotions they feel in their TV parlors are fake and have no root. They don't just talk anymore even if they're husband and wife! Their lack of talking means lack of arguing or laughing and the law against reading books means they haven't read a book and had emotions either. Also, books always have a purpose; whether it's to explain how or why something works, share information about someone’s life,...