"Fahrenheit 451": letter to Beatty from Guy Montag.

Essay by yoyomonkeyHigh School, 10th gradeA+, March 2007

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Dear Beatty,

You have frustrated me with your ignorance. You are trying to brainwash me into being like you. You think everyone should be the same. Do you actually think this makes us happy? Unity doesn't come from uniformity; unity comes from diversity. People's skills and ideas need to come together to make a happy society. If everyone is the same, life is just boring.

I don't understand what you see as wrong with books. I think you yourself have been tricked into believing something I'm not sure even you believe. When we went into the woman's attic with all the books, she refused to leave her books. She was burnt alive. How can you not feel emotional about that? A person, a human, has died. A person has believed in something so strongly that she died for it. A strong belief like that cannot be traded in for a life of what you call happiness.

I don't even think you know why you are living. You yourself have been brainwashed. Do you even know why you burn books? It doesn't make anyone happier. The only reason it causes conflict is because people are being trained to be so ignorant that they will not understand any kind of complex ideas in a book. And besides, what's so bad about some conflict? Life needs conflict. You cannot try to live without it.

When I see a book, I see freedom. I see a chance for people to think, feel, and learn. Do what you want with a book. It is your key to freedom. There is no reason to live without freedom. Freedom is what makes us human, and books are what make freedom.

The thing is, as firemen, we are not helping anyone. You say we're making a happier world. You may think we are. Some people may think we are. But all that matters in the end is if we truly know that we are. Look deep inside your heart if you have one and ask yourself this simple question. Are you truly making a happier world?


Guy Montag


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Taylor, Charles. "Censorship Is Not an Effective Way to Protect Children". Andrea C. Nakaya, Ed. Opposing Viewpoints® Series. Greenhaven Press, 2005.