Compare and Contrast
Do you know anybody that loves to burn books? Well, in the novel Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, he has such a great pair of characters. Montag and Captain Beatty burn books for living. While Montag is a kind of guy with a dual personality, ignorant, and loves to read books, and Captain Beatty is arrogant, intelligent, and afraid of books.
In the society that described by Bradbury, people commit suicide everyday. It is against the law to have books. You can't neither read nor possess it. They believe that books make them unhappy. Montag is a fireman who supposes to enforce the law. One side of him is good and the other is evil. Book burning smells like perfume to him, but he actually steals some books while on duty. There's a quote from the book that said "Montag has done nothing, his hand had done it all, his hand with a brain of its own, with a conscience and curiosity in each trembling finger, had turned thief."(37) When he was at the old woman's house, he hid a book under his armpit. Captain Beatty is a heartless, cold-blooded kind of guy. It's his entire fault that the old woman commits suicide. He forces her to give up her books, but she refuses. Here's a line from the book described how cruel Captain Beatty is: "Besides, theses fanatics always try suicide: the pattern's familiar?' 'I am counting to ten', said Beatty."(39) I think what he means is these cases happen everyday. It's no big deal at all. He doesn't care that it is a person's life we're talking about here.
In my opinion, Captain Beatty is the most intelligent character in the story, even more than Faber. Somehow, he knows everything. He knows that Montag is hiding some books. Beatty said, "I've seen it all. You were going to call for a night off."(59) Montag cannot believe that Beatty even knows about the night off. Beatty wants Montag to turn himself in, otherwise the mechanical hound will after him. Deep inside, Captain Beatty is actually afraid of books. He's afraid of what might do to the society. Beatty said "they'll be happy, because of the facts of that sort don't change. Don't give them any slippery stuff like philosophy or sociology to tie things up with." According to him, everybody is happy the way they are. The books only make people think.
Montag has a whole library of books hidden in his house. He started collecting them after he realizes that there's a man behind each of them. Montag confides with his wife, Mildred, about the problem. He said "for the first time I realized that a man had to think and put them on paper."(51) His wife startles when she saw the books. She wants him to get rid of them, but he wouldn't. They were about to search Montag's house for books. Montag shoots the red-hot flame at Beatty because Beatty forces him to burn his own books. Captain Beatty died. Here's a quote from the book "Montag shot one continuos pulse of liquid fire on him? Beatty flopped over and over and over?"(119) It's not so wise for Montag to kill Beatty because that would make him a criminal. Now, everybody is after him. They are after the guy who obstructing justices and disobey the laws
Although Monag and Beatty work together, but they can't never get along. Montag reads books and Beatty burns them.