Fahrenheit 451

Action vs. Inaction Theme Analysis

Themes and Colors
Mass Media Theme Icon
Censorship Theme Icon
Conformity vs. Individuality Theme Icon
Distraction vs. Happiness Theme Icon
Action vs. Inaction Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Fahrenheit 451, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
Action vs. Inaction Theme Icon

In the years up to and before World War II, many societies, including Germany, become dangerous and intolerant. Even so, their citizens were afraid to speak out against these changes. Fahrenheit 451 was published in 1953, just a few years after WWII ended, and is very concerned with the idea of taking action versus standing by while society falters. In particular, the novel shows how Montag learns to take action, in contrast to Faber who is too cowardly to act. At the same time, Faber does help teach Montag the difference between reckless and intelligent action, so that by the end of the novel Montag is ready to act in a constructive rather than destructive way.

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Action vs. Inaction ThemeTracker

The ThemeTracker below shows where, and to what degree, the theme of Action vs. Inaction appears in each chapter of Fahrenheit 451. Click or tap on any chapter to read its Summary & Analysis.
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Action vs. Inaction Quotes in Fahrenheit 451

Below you will find the important quotes in Fahrenheit 451 related to the theme of Action vs. Inaction.
Part 1 Quotes
It was a pleasure to burn.
Related Characters: Guy Montag (speaker)
Related Symbols: Fire
Page Number: 1
Explanation and Analysis:
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"You're not like the others. I've seen a few; I know. When I talk, you look at me. When I said something about the moon, you looked at the moon, last night. The others would never do that."
Related Characters: Clarisse McClellan (speaker), Guy Montag
Page Number: 21
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Mechanical Hound slept but did not sleep, lived but did not live in its gently humming, gently vibrating, softly illuminated kennel back in a dark corner of the firehouse.
Page Number: 21
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The woman on the porch reached out with contempt to them all and struck the kitchen match against the railing.
Page Number: 37
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"Speed up the film, Montag, quick... Uh! Bang! Smack! Wallop, Bing, Bong, Boom! Digest-digests, digest-digest-digests. Politics? One column, two sentences, a headline!... Whirl man's mind around about so fast under the pumping hands of publishers, exploiters, broadcasters that the centrifuge flings off all unnecessary, time-wasting thought!"
Related Characters: Captain Beatty (speaker), Guy Montag
Page Number: 52
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"Burn all, burn everything. Fire is bright and fire is clean."
Related Characters: Captain Beatty (speaker)
Related Symbols: Fire
Page Number: 57
Explanation and Analysis:
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"The important thing for you to remember, Montag, is we're the Happiness Boys... you and I and the others. We stand against the small tide of those who want to make everyone unhappy with conflicting theory and thought. We have our fingers in the dike. Hold steady. Don't let the torrent of melancholy and drear philosophy drown our world."
Related Characters: Captain Beatty (speaker), Guy Montag
Page Number: 59
Explanation and Analysis:
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"At least once in his career, every fireman gets an itch. What do the books say, he wonders. Oh, to scratch that itch, eh?"
Related Characters: Captain Beatty (speaker)
Page Number: 59
Explanation and Analysis:
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Part 2 Quotes
He would be Montag-plus-Faber, fire plus water, and then, one day, after everything had mixed and simmered and worked away in silence, there would be neither fire nor water, but wine.
Related Characters: Guy Montag
Page Number: 99
Explanation and Analysis:
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Part 3 Quotes
"What is it about fire that's so lovely? No matter what age we are, what draws us to it?... It's perpetual motion; the thing man wanted to invent but never did. Or almost perpetual motion. If you let it go on, it'd burn our lifetimes out."
Related Characters: Captain Beatty (speaker)
Related Symbols: Fire
Page Number: 109
Explanation and Analysis:
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"Now, Montag, you're a burden. And fire will lift you off my shoulders, clean, quick, sure; nothing to rot later. Antibiotic, aesthetic, practical."
Related Characters: Captain Beatty (speaker), Guy Montag
Related Symbols: Fire
Page Number: 109
Explanation and Analysis:
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"We're nothing more than dust jackets for books, of no significance otherwise."
Related Characters: Granger (speaker)
Page Number: 146
Explanation and Analysis:
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"...We're going to build a mirror factory first and put out nothing but mirrors for the next year and take a long look in them."
Related Characters: Granger (speaker)
Page Number: 157
Explanation and Analysis:
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