Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury
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Key Questions and Answers

Summary Key Questions and Answers

5) How does Beatty learn about Montag’s book stash?

Beatty comes to Montag’s house because Montag’s sudden illness arouses his suspicion. Beatty comments that every fireman goes through a phase of doubt about his work and grows curious about the books he’s dedicated himself to destroying. Near the end of his visit, Beatty witnesses an awkward moment, when Montag brushes Mildred off as she attempts to adjust the pillow under which he’s hidden a stolen book. Later Beatty issues a veiled threat, informing Montag that if a fireman has possession of a book, “We let [him] keep the book twenty-four hours. If he hasn’t burned it by then, we simply come burn it for him.” Beatty clearly suspects that Montag has fallen prey to a curiosity about books, but he chooses not to take action until after Montag reads a poem to Mildred and her friends. When Beatty orders Montag to burn his own house, he discloses that both Mildred and her friends reported his book stash.