Montag And Beatty Compare And Contrast Essay Example

Captain Beatty

Character Analysis

Captain Beatty is a bit of paradox. He’s the head honcho fireman, but he knows more about books than anyone else. He burns these texts with a fiery vengeance (wink wink), but he spends half his time quoting from them. Did you notice how his speech is full of Biblical references? “You’ve been locked up here for years with a regular damned Tower of Babel,” he tells the old woman. “You think you can walk on water with your books,” he says to Montag. He even mentions the Greek myth of Icarus. He’s the most well-read book-burner we’ve ever encountered.

It’s not until Beatty gives Montag that big speech in Part One that we understand what’s going on in this guy's head. He used to be curious about books, just like Montag is. He used to question the system, just like Montag. And just like Montag, he took action – he read, rules be damned. So what in the world makes him different from Montag?

Hold that thought for a paragraph or so. What makes Beatty such a powerful force in this novel is that, actually, he makes a decent point in his anti-book ravings. Literature is contradictory. It is confusing. It is treacherous, it will mix you up, it will force you to answer questions you never wanted to ask, and it will quite often pull the rug out from under your feet.

But that’s one of the lessons of Fahrenheit 451. It’s not about what books say, it’s about the process of reading them and thinking for yourself. It’s about questioning. This, of course, is the reason books were abolished in the first place – not for the information they held, but for the dissent they caused amongst their readers. So Beatty is right to argue that books are contradictory. But he misses the point. Contradictions are the whole idea behind literature.

That is what makes Beatty different from Montag. He’s not willing to do the thinking. He doesn’t want to question and think. He turned books down because they don’t hand him The Secret of the Universe all tied up with a bow. Montag, on the other hand, wants to work for his knowledge. He wants to understand what he reads, as he tells Faber, and then think for himself to decide in what he believes. That’s why he’s the hero, and Beatty is the villain.

Captain Beatty's Timeline

Compare and Contrast Montag and Beatty



Compare and Contrast Montag and Beatty

Charlie Trainum
Core 4
F451: Compare and contrast Montag and Beatty

In the novel, Fahrenheit 451, there are differences and similarities between Montag and Beatty.  One is their level of knowledge of books.  Another is their feelings.  The last is their feelings on their jobs.  These are several differences and similarities between Montag and Beatty.

One difference between Montag and Beatty is their knowledge of books.  Montag has little knowledge of the "meaning" of books while Beatty knows about their meaning.  Their "meaning" is less than nothing.  They kept getting less used and more and more minorities didnt like several of them. (we cant have any minorities sad, can we?) Beatty thinks that, due to books "meaning," all books make no sense while Montag doesnt believe him and thinks (and finds out) that books have real meaning.  Like I said, Montag and Beatty have different knowledge of books.

Another difference between Montag and Beatty are their feeling.  Montag is a determined person.  Beatty seems to be strong.  But, in the end, Beatty finally wants to end his life, hes given up.  Montag feels that the world has lost half of its feelings.  Beatty doesnt, hes part of that world.  Their feelings are different is ways.  

The last thing that I will compare is the way that Montag and Beatty feel about their jobs.  Montag and Beatty, throughout 1/3 of the novel, feel about burning books and their houses.  Once somebody gets burned, Montag starts changing his attitude.  He doesnt want to burn anymore.  Its kind of ironic that Beatty was done in while burning a house.  Those are the differences and similarities about their jobs and the feelings that go with it.

Ive shown several different things.  One was their level of "knowledge" on books.  The second was their feelings.  The third was their feelings about their jobs, being a fireman.  Their are differences and similarities that are too numerous to mention in any report.    

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Related Topics

Fahrenheit 451Social science fictionBeattyGuy Montag

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