Fahrenheit 451

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A former English professor who describes himself as a coward because he did not act to try to change the direction in which society was headed. He uses a two-way radio to direct Montag through situations in which he is too frightened to place himself. He provides a counterpoint to Beatty's arguments against literature and thought. Faber is named after a famous publisher (Faber & Faber) and a brand of pencils.

Faber Quotes in Fahrenheit 451

The Fahrenheit 451 quotes below are all either spoken by Faber or refer to Faber. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
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). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Simon & Schuster edition of Fahrenheit 451 published in 2013.
Part 2 Quotes
"It's not books you need, it's some of the things that once were it books....The same infinite detail and awareness could be projected through radios and televisors, but are not."
Related Characters: Faber (speaker)
Page Number: 78
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Faber--an elderly professor whom Guy first met years before--gives Guy his theory for why books are superior to television. Faber believes that books are important because they offer a complex  view of life. In a good book, there are no clear heroes and villains--life is not described in terms of "black and white." Instead, good books describe reality in nuanced terms. It's different on television: on the TV shows of Montag's society, life is described in terms of good and evil, sensationalism and pure entertainment, so that everything is simplified and, at heart, unrealistic.

Faber adds an important qualifier to his point. It's not that books are inherently better than movies--rather, TV producers have chosen to create TV shows that ignore the "infinite detail" that literature offers. It's certainly possible for TV to convey moral and intellectual complexity; but, perhaps because complexity doesn't sell well, TV producers opt instead for cartoonish simplicity. (Makes you wonder what Bradbury would have said about shows like The Wire or Breaking Bad...)

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"We are living in a time when flowers are trying to live on flowers, instead of growing on good rain and black loam."
Related Characters: Faber (speaker)
Page Number: 79
Explanation and Analysis:

Professor Faber, Guy's new mentor, offers a tragic metaphor for the way American society has come to function. Faber compares America to a field of flowers. The flowers are beautiful and delicate-looking--symbols of sensual, material pleasure. The people of the United States believe that they can survive on a "diet" of happiness and sensual pleasure only (i.e., "flowers are trying to live on flowers").

Faber suggests that modern Americans try to satisfy their deepest spiritual needs in the shallowest of ways. A human being can't find peace and comfort in a superficial program on TV--and yet people in Faber's society increasingly attempt to do so. Faber suggests that people can only get spiritual nourishment from "good rain and black loam"--i.e., from books and ideas that, while not conventionally pleasurable, provide a deeper channel for thought and insight. Perhaps Faber considers literature, religion, and philosophy to be "black loam"--it might not always "taste" sweet, but it gives people the strength to live well.

"Those who don't build must burn. It's as old as history and juvenile delinquents."
Related Characters: Faber (speaker)
Related Symbols: Fire
Page Number: 85
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Faber sums up his ideas about modern American society. Society, he says, has become a place for destruction. Firemen destroy forbidden literature, and even the average American citizen watches TV programs in which people and machines destroy each other. In short, society has become mindlessly violent because it's entertaining, and because people have nothing positive to offer in place of violence. As Faber sees it, society's love for destruction is indicative of a fundamental lack of creativity: "those who don't build must burn."

Faber's theory of modern American society is rooted in his knowledge of history. There have always been destructive people, he acknowledges. But for most of history, mankind's potential for creativity overshadowed its potential to destroy. Societies celebrated creation more highly than destruction. Nowadays, society fetishizes destruction and greets all unique creativity with suspicion. 

"They are so confident that they will run on forever. But they won't run on. They don't know that this is all one huge big blazing meteor that makes a pretty fire in space, but that someday it'll have to hit."
Related Characters: Faber (speaker)
Related Symbols: Fire
Page Number: 99
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Faber offers some harsh thoughts on Guy's wife and her friends. Guy has just returned from a long conversation with Faber about the superficiality of modern society. During his ride back to his home, Guy learns that his country has just declared war. When Guy returns to his home, he's shocked to find that his wife and her peers are mostly indifferent to the political details of the war--they're more concerned about the TV program they're about to watch, "The White Clown."

Faber, who's communicating with Guy via an earpiece, claims that Guy's peers are naively confident that their society will last forever. In other words, they don't need to think about politics or war, because they're confident that America will win every military conflict, allowing them to go on watching TV and enjoying themselves. The reality, however, is that Guy's friends are partying on a sinking ship--and soon enough, their country's actions will catch up with it. Also note that Faber again uses fire imagery here, suggesting that the fires society uses to burn books will grow beyond its control, and burn up society itself.

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Faber Character Timeline in Fahrenheit 451

The timeline below shows where the character Faber appears in Fahrenheit 451. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 2
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...remembers a retired English professor he met in the park a year ago. The man, Faber, was fearful of Montag at first, but after Montag assured Faber that he was safe... (full context)
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Faber is frightened when Montag shows up at his house, but is reassured when Montag shows... (full context)
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...the only things he knows for sure are missing. So, maybe books are the answer. Faber responds that it's not the books that are missing, it's what's in the books—and could... (full context)
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Faber says three things are missing from people's lives. The first is quality information that has... (full context)
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Faber's third requirement is the freedom for people to act based on what they learn when... (full context)
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Montag wants to do something, but Faber is reluctant to act. Faber does hypothetically suggest a scheme of printing books and planting... (full context)
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Unwilling not to act, Montag rips a page out of the Bible, then another, until Faber's agrees to help. Faber promises to get in touch with an old friend of his... (full context)
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As Montag takes the subway home, Faber reads to him from the Bible while pleasant announcements that the country has mobilized for... (full context)
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At home, Mildred's friends Mrs. Phelps and Mrs. Bowles arrive to watch the White Clown. Faber, through Montag' earpiece, tells him not to do anything and to be patient, but Montag... (full context)
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Moments later, Montag returns with a book of poetry. Although Faber, through the radio earpiece, begs him not to, Montag reads a poem—"Dover Beach," by Matthew... (full context)
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...upset the women, and wonders if they are right to care only about immediate pleasures. Faber, talking to Montag through the reinstated earpiece, tells him that fun is fine if there... (full context)
Part 3
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...destroy his own house with a flamethrower or get hunted down by the Mechanical Hound. Faber (speaking through the earpiece) begs Montag to run away, but Montag has no choice and... (full context)
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Montag goes to Faber's house and tells him what happened. Faber feels invigorated for the first time in ages.... (full context)
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Montag advises Faber on how to eliminate Montag's scent from the house by burning things, wiping others with... (full context)
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...the men down. As he huddles against the ground, Montag thinks of Clarisse, already dead, Faber, on a bus to another annihilated city, and Mildred, whom he imagines in horrifying detail... (full context)