The Open Window

Literary Analysis from a Christian Perspective

Beatty wanted to die.

Filed under: Analysis Exercises,Fahrenheit 451,General Discussion,Uncategorized — zirychka at 7:57 am on Wednesday, November 23, 2011

“In the middle of crying Montag knew it for the truth. Beatty had wanted to die. He had just stood there, not really trying to save himself, just stood there, joking, needling . . .” (p 174 in my edition; 20 or 30 pages earlier in yours).

Do you agree that Beatty had a death wish?

If yes, then did he really believe he was enforcing happiness as he claimed?

If not, what motivated him to keep taunting Montag?

Check out the homework page for your assignments. The main one is to write your body paragraphs for the essay on Fahrenheit 451.



17 Comments »

143

   DocterPain

November 23, 2011 @ 5:04 pm   Reply

I do agree Beatty had a death wish. Why else would he continue to taunt a Guy (pun intended) with a “lock and load[ed]” flamethrower aimed at him. It is quite possible Beatty himself did not believe everything he told Montag, and that he wanted to be free. The one thing that is sure is that reading books will change your outlook on almost all subjects (church, government, freedom, relationships, learning etc….). When this happens you are no longer satisfied with the propaganda and lies you get fed from places like school, church, television, Internet, the news, etc. It is my opinion that Beatty wanted to die, he could see through everything and so lost hope that things could be different, he truly believed that they where the “happiness boys”, because to the other ignorant people who wanted to stay ignorant they where.

Docter Pain
—————————————————-
“What is a rebel? A man who says no.”
-Camus, Albert

“The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.”
-Albert Camus

148

   BigTimeGrant

November 25, 2011 @ 4:01 am   Reply

I think that Beatty definitely had a death wish, if he wanted to live he would not have taunted Montag like he did. He knew that Montag would pull the trigger, and he deliberately pushed him over the edge. Beatty could not have believed that he was enforcing true happiness, he was far too learned and well-read for that. He knew the truth, but I believe that Beatty viewed himself as too far in ever to get out, and resorted to suicide at someone else’s hands as a means of escape. This was his motivation to keep taunting Montag- he WANTED to push Montag over the edge and die.

155

   DocterPain

November 25, 2011 @ 5:52 pm   Reply

Just thought of something else. Beatty believed that books brought unhappiness. He believed they where the “happiness boys”. Knowing how things truly operate doesn’t bring you happiness. It brings you sorrow and pain, anguish and terror, because of all the dark styxian blackness so often concealed by a insane amount of insidious cunning, and subterfuge. Beattys position is correct. Are people better of with less knowledge? Not at all. Are they happier with out it? Yes. Especially the position taken with our totalitarian fascist governments and organizations, that knowledge is damning.

Docter Pain
—————————————————-
“What is a rebel? A man who says no.”
-Camus, Albert

“The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.”
-Albert Camus

159

   insert::Emoticon

November 26, 2011 @ 7:53 pm   Reply

Yes, I think Beatty had a death wish. I agree with DocterPain on this one in that Beatty wanted to die because he knew that what he told Montag happiness is was not true happiness. Also that reading books is the reason he was not the normal citizen.

——————————————————–
A little Learning is a dang’rous Thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian Spring.
– Alexander Pope (1711 An Essay on Criticism l. 215)

162

   zirychka

November 28, 2011 @ 8:22 am   Reply

Let’s review some definitions of happiness.

Beatty’s happiness: distraction, or external stimulation

Faber’s happiness: choice based on quality information

Doctor Pain’s happiness: ignorance, combined with distraction (have I got this right?)

Lasting happiness: contentment, peace, self worth, acceptance

When we discussed last class, we decided that Faber’s three necessities — 1) quality info; 2) time to think; and 3) chance to choose based on thoughts — were only the first step to happiness. I think the next thing is reconciling yourself with God, which we can do through Christ.

Beatty had access to the quality info, and time to think about it. Did he have a choice about how to act? Do any of the characters attempt to reconcile themselves with God?

163

   DocterPain

November 28, 2011 @ 5:05 pm   Reply

Partly true. Ignorance brings happiness or “the quality or state of being happy” (dictionary.reference.com). Like my second post says I believe Beatty to think this. That is why he wanted to die. He knew their where problems and that he could ‘NEVER’ be happy. Once you’ve tasted of the “Pierian Spring” there is no going back, it’s kind of an addiction I guess. If you where Beatty, knowing all the things you know, and thinking that you can do nothing, would you not also fall into despair and wish to die? In a society where knowledge is frowned upon, you cannot be happy through gaining knowledge, only by abandoning it.

Docter Pain
—————————————————-
“What is a rebel? A man who says no.”
-Camus, Albert

“The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.”
-Albert Camus

164

   bigtimegrant

November 28, 2011 @ 7:15 pm   Reply

Beatty was a well-read man, he had all the knowledge of books at his disposal. He definitely had the choice about what he did with that knowledge, he could very well have joined forces with Montag and Faber and spearheaded an underground rebellion or some such movement. It is quite probable, though, that Beatty did not feel this way and felt trapped by society and his role, not believing that there was any way out. This would explain his despair and subsequent death wish. In the book, none of the characters attempt to reconcile with God. Faber even identifies himself as not being a religious man, however he does make a comment almost immediately afterward about how long it has been since he had read the Bible. These statements could be paradoxical, or even contradictory, but they do at least show that none of the characters reconciled with God, despite maybe having thoughts about Him.

165

   bigtimegrant

November 28, 2011 @ 9:38 pm   Reply

Actually, I take that back. Montag may have attempted to reconcile with God. On page 123 in my version, after roasting Beatty, he bites his knuckles and cries “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, oh God, sorry…” This is as close as any of the characters ever get to reconciliation.

166

   insert::Emoticon

November 28, 2011 @ 9:58 pm   Reply

I think that one of the main reasons that none of the characters try to reconcile with God is due mostly to Bradbury’s view on most “Christians”, that are blind outside (and often inside) of the gospel of their denomination. Beatty did have a choice to act, but I agree with BigTimeGrant where he says that Beatty might have felt “trapped by society and his role, not believing that there was any way out.”

——————————————————–
A little Learning is a dang’rous Thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian Spring.
– Alexander Pope (1711 An Essay on Criticism l. 215)

167

   DocterPain

November 29, 2011 @ 5:12 pm   Reply

I think that not even Montag reconciled with God, just because someone says “oh God, sorry” doesn’t mean they are reconciling, or even trying, In this context it as much a curse word as a deity.
I do honestly 100% agree with Bradbury on his views of Christians.

It is quite possible to my mind that Beatty is the most complex character in the book, and I think he represents a large amount of humanity. They possess some learning, and because of the way they have been brought up, if they encounter anything new it is “burned”, either by burning the person, or the knowledge they bring.

Oh, one other thing, My view on happiness is justified by the very characters in Farenheit 451 themselves. Each of them has a different view on happiness.

Docter Pain
—————————————————-
“What is a rebel? A man who says no.”
-Camus, Albert

“The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.”
-Albert Camus

168

   insert::Emoticon

November 29, 2011 @ 6:28 pm   Reply

I agree with DocterPain on this one in that Montag was not reconciling with God, and I think that that would probably be the last thing that would come to his mind.

@DocterPain, what do you mean by your second statement? I think I know what you mean but I want to make sure. I got the first part about everybody having a degree of learning and from what I understood of the second I agree, but just making sure. How is this “burning” achieved? And what is the reason for this response to new knowledge?

——————————————————–
A little Learning is a dang’rous Thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian Spring.
– Alexander Pope (1711 An Essay on Criticism l. 215)

169

   insert::Emoticon

November 29, 2011 @ 6:45 pm   Reply

Had another thought as to why Montag would not be trying to reconcile himself with God when he cries “oh God, sorry” because at all other points in the book “God” is used as a curse of exclamation, rather than with reverence.

——————————————————–
A little Learning is a dang’rous Thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian Spring.
– Alexander Pope (1711 An Essay on Criticism l. 215)

172

   BIGTIMEGRANT

November 29, 2011 @ 10:59 pm   Reply

My only argument here is that the Montag who is crying ‘oh God, i’m sorry’ is a different Montag from the rest of the book up to that point. Immediately before this line, he is thinking about the Bible and the lilies of the field. The context of the situation and Montag’s change of heart prior to that are my only arguments as to his possible sincerity in these words.

179

   DocterPain

November 30, 2011 @ 9:50 pm   Reply

@insert::Emoticon
Yes, the burning is achieved through persecution. Although in the olden days it was achieved through literal burning (ie; witches, heretics, blah blah blah)

@BIGTIMEGRANT
Even if he was sincere in the sense that you think he was, does it really matter?

180

   insert::Emoticon

December 1, 2011 @ 5:54 pm   Reply

@BigTimeGrant, I was thinking about Montag’s cries, and I thought that Montag was NOT reconciling himself with God, but rather apologizing to himself and to Beatty. And even those I don’t think were sincere, as it was the shock of it all that put him in this state.

I was also thinking about DocterPain’s statements and my question I asked him (that he never answered). The reason they respond to new knowledge with violence, even though “knowledge is more than equivalent to power”, as Beatty says, IT IS THE KNOWLEDGE THAT THE PEOPLE FEAR, NOT THE CARRIER OF IT! From Rush’s song The Weapon, “We’ve got nothing to fear but fear itself/Not pain, not failure, not fatal tragedy” and later in the song “And the things that we fear are a weapon to be held against us”. If one wants to make a difference in the world today for the better all they have to do is educate themselves insomuch that they can counter all attacks, not with force, as a dullard uses, but rather with more knowledge. Few things are more frustrating (to me, anyway) than NOT knowing something.

——————————————————–
A little Learning is a dang’rous Thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian Spring.
– Alexander Pope (1711 An Essay on Criticism l. 215)

181

   DocterPain

December 1, 2011 @ 6:33 pm   Reply

@insert::Emoticon
Very clever, as you can see if you don’t answer peoples questions they answer it themselves. And yes that is exactely what I meant. I also hate knowing I don’t know something (I must be pretty hatefull then haha).

Docter Pain
—————————————————-
“What is a rebel? A man who says no.”
-Camus, Albert

“The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.”
-Albert Camus

182

   insert::Emoticon

December 1, 2011 @ 7:27 pm   Reply

@DocterPain, thanks, but that depends if one knows the person they asked the question to and knowing how they think. ;)

——————————————————–
A little Learning is a dang’rous Thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian Spring.
– Alexander Pope (1711 An Essay on Criticism l. 215)

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