Literature Study GuidesFahrenheit 451Part 2 Beatty Taunts Montag Summary

Fahrenheit 451 | Study Guide

Ray Bradbury

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Part 2 | Beatty Taunts Montag

Course Hero’s video study guide provides in-depth summary and analysis of Part 2 | The Sieve and the Sand (Beatty Taunts Montag) of Ray Bradbury's novel Fahrenheit 451.

Fahrenheit 451 | Part 2 (Beatty Taunts Montag) : The Sieve and the Sand | Summary



Montag leaves his house and makes his way to the firehouse. As he does, Faber talks to him, reassuring him it is okay to make mistakes. When Montag arrives at the firehouse, the Mechanical Hound is missing, and the other firemen are playing cards. Beatty taunts Montag, teasing him with references to many famous books and authors. For example, when Montag enters, Beatty greets him by paraphrasing a line about being a fool from Shakespeare's As You Like It. After Montag surrenders his book and Beatty tosses it in the trash, Beatty quotes John Donne: "Who are a little wise, the best fools be." At the same time, he challenges Montag about his time away and his decision to read books. Faber speaks to Montag through the speaker in his ear, trying to keep him focused so he won't be pulled in by Beatty's attempt to trap him. The alarm rings, and the firemen must rush out to burn books. The call takes them to Montag's house.


This scene further develops the complex character of Captain Beatty. Beatty here demonstrates that not only has he read a number of books, he can quote and paraphrase them incisively and is steeped in the liberal arts. If anyone should be able to champion reading, it is Beatty. And yet he argues that books are "traitors" and always betray the reader. They offer contradictory ideas, causing confusion and frustration and threatening people's sense of security.

Beatty's ranting reveals how invested he is in Montag's choices. Beatty wasn't upset when a woman burned herself along with her books, but he's angry enough about Montag's betrayal to try to win him back with clever arguments. He clearly sees himself in Montag and is eager to mold his employee in his own image.

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