Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Important Quotes with Page Numbers

These important quotes from the novel reveal themes, character development or symbols used by Bradbury.

Page numbers here and throughout this study guide refer to the Simon & Schuster Paperbacks edition.

Chapter 1, "The Hearth and the Salamander"

Page 11:

"The jet bombers going over, going over, going over, one two, one two, one two, six of them, nine of them, twelve of them, one and one and one and another and another and another, did all the screaming for him"

This occurs as Montag tries to dial the emergency line to save Mildred. The use of counting not only sets up a cadence like that of marching soldiers, but shows the build-up of forces that can lead only to war (like drops or rain eventually spilling over).

Page 27:

" 'It's a lot of funnels and a lot of water poured down the spout and out the bottom, and them telling us it's wine when it's not' "
- Clarisse

Clarisse explaining how she feels about school and the learning process to Montag.

Page 35:

" 'You know the law,' said Beatty. 'Where's your common sense? None of those books agree with each other. You've been locked up here for years with a regular damned Tower of Babel' "
- Captain Beatty

Beatty speaking to the owner of a hidden library who lights herself on fire along with her books. This passage highlights the argument about why books should be illegal. The mention of the Tower of Babel signals that other, perhaps subtler, biblical allusions are likely to exist.

Page 49:

" 'And I thought about books. And for the first time I realized that a man was behind each one of the books' "
- Montag

Montag explaining his revelation to his wife. This passage shows how strongly books are tied to actual people, that they are more than words and paper. This idea is further developed with the introduction of the exiles who've each memorized a book.

Page 59:

" 'We stand against the small tide of those who want to make everyone unhappy with conflicting theory and thought' "
- Captain Beatty

Beatty explaining to Montag the importance of the firemen.

Chapter 2, "The Sieve and the Sand"

Page 67:

" ' "We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over; so in a series of kindnesses there is at least one which makes the heart run over" ' "

This is actually a popular quote by James Boswell being read out of a book by Montag. Bradbury repeatedly employs this concept in various forms throughout the novel.

Page 69:

" 'Books aren't people. You read and I look all around, but there isn't anybody!' "
- Mildred

Mildred expressing her frustration to Montag as they read together. This idea directly opposes one theme of the work, which is that books are people (as evidenced by the existence of Granger's exiles).

Page 70:

" 'Is it true, the world works hard and we play? Is that why we're hated so much?' "
- Montag

Montag arguing to Mildred the need for books. This quote also explains the continual warfare occurring in the novel.

Page 71:

" 'I don't talk things, sir,' said Faber. 'I talk the meaning of things. I sit here and know I'm alive' "
- Professor Faber

Faber speaking to Montag. This passage expresses an opposing view to Beatty's and a theme of the novel. It likely supports an earlier possible allusion to Plato's "Allegory of the Cave".

Page 85:

" 'A few bombs and the "families" in the walls of all the houses, like harlequin rats, will shut up! In the silence, our stage whisper might carry' "
- Professor Faber

Faber speaking to Montag. This passage helps set the optimistic tone of the ending.

Page 89:

" 'They say you retain knowledge even when you're sleeping, if someone whispers in your ear' "
- Professor Faber

Faber to Montag. This sentence highlights how Montag will be able to remember a whole book of the Bible (Ecclesiastes) by the end of the novel.

Page 104:

" 'But remember that the Captain belongs to the most dangerous enemy to truth and freedom, the solid unmoving cattle of the majority. Oh, God, the terrible tyranny of the majority' "
- Professor Faber

Faber speaking to Montag about Beatty. This passage details one of the themes of the novel: pandering to the majority leads to a reduction in the quality of information available.

Chapter 3, "Burning Bright"

Page 157:

" 'And some day we'll remember so much that we'll build the biggest goddamn steamshovel in history and dig the biggest grave of all time and shove war in and cover it up. Come on now, we're going to go build a mirror factory first and put out nothing but mirrors for the next year and take a long look in them' "
- Granger

Granger speaking at the end of the novel, underscoring the importance of introspection.

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