Professor Faber in Fahrenheit 451

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

In 'Fahrenheit 451', the protagonist, Montag, and a retired English professor, Faber, inspire one another not to settle for a complacent life, but to put actions to their convictions and make their city a better place.

Montag and Faber's Relationship

Have you ever met someone with whom you seemed to have nothing in common, but they ended up playing a significant role in your life? That is what happened with Montag, the protagonist who is a fireman in charge of burning books, and Faber, a retired English professor who recognizes what the loss of books means to society. Let's take a closer look at their relationship in Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.

Montag's First Encounter with Faber

A year before the story began, Montag met Faber in the city park. Obviously trying to conceal something, Faber started to run away when he noticed Montag's uniform, but Montag was able to convince him to stay. Faber introduced himself as a retired English professor who was outcast when all of the liberal arts colleges were shut down. 'I don't talk things, sir,' said Faber. 'I talk the meaning of things. I sit here and know I'm alive.' After sharing a poem and a monologue with Montag, Faber gave him his address and phone number. A year later, Faber's information remained in Montag's file of possible future investigations.

Montag Seeks Faber

Searching for meaning in his life, Montag contacts Faber and brings him what is possibly the last existing copy of the Holy Bible. Montag wants Faber to help him understand it as he is sure that books must be hiding whatever it is Montag is missing in his life. 'It's not books you need, it's some of the things that once were in books. The same things could be in the `parlour families' today. The same infinite detail and awareness could be projected through the radios and televisors, but are not,' explains Faber. Books are only important because they contain truth. People take time to think about them, and people have the ability to react to what they learn from them. 'And I hardly think a very old man and a fireman turned sour could do much this late in the game...,' says Faber.

Revolutionary Ideas

Before Faber leaves, Faber and Montag consider options for getting books back into the hands of the people to make a difference for future generations. 'The books are to remind us what asses and fools we are,' says Faber. They discuss planting books in the houses of firemen so that their homes will be burned and they discuss reprinting the books they are able to find so that others might enjoy them.

Faber and Montag consider reprinting books.

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