Nobody listens any more. I can't talk to the walls because they're yelling at me. I can't talk to my wife; she listens to the walls. I just want someone to hear what I have to say. And maybe if I talk long enough, it'll make sense. And I want you to teach me to understand what I read.
Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you're there. It doesn't matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that's like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.
The books are to remind us what asses and fool we are. They're Caeser's praetorian guard, whispering as the parade roars down the avenue, "Remember, Caeser, thou art mortal." Most of us can't rush around, talking to everyone, know all the cities of the world, we haven't time, money or that many friends. The things you're looking for, Montag, are in the world, but the only way the average chap will ever see ninety-nine per cent of them is in a book. Don't ask for guarantees. And don't look to be saved in any one thing, person, machine, or library. Do your own bit of saving, and if you drown, at least die knowing you were headed for shore.
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. The others would walk off and leave me talking. Or threaten me. No one has time any more for anyone else. You're one of the few who put up with me. That's why I think it's so strange you're a fireman, it just doesn't seem right for you, somehow.
He said hello and then said,
"What are you up to now?"
"I'm still crazy. The rain feels good. I love to walk in it.
"I don't think I'd like that," he said.
"You might if you tried."
"I never have." She licked her lips.
"Rain even tastes good."
"What do you do, go around trying everything once?" he asked.
Last night I thought about all the kerosene I've used in the past ten years. And I thought about books. And for the first time I realized that a man was behind each one of the books. A man had to think them up. A man had to take a long time to put them down on paper. And I'd never even thought that thought before.
I've heard rumours; the world is starving, but we're well-fed. Is it true, the world works hard and we play? Is that why we're hated so much? I've heard the rumours about hate, too, once in a long while, over the years. Do you know why? I don't, that's sure! Maybe the books can get us half out of the cave. They just might stop us from making the same damn insane mistakes!
But most of all," she said, "I like to watch people. Sometimes I ride the subway all day and look at them and listen to them. I just want to figure out who they are and what they want and where they're going. Sometimes I even go to the Fun Parks and ride in the jet cars when they race on the edge of town at midnight and the police don't care as long as they're insured. As long as everyone has ten thousand insurance everyone's happy.Sometimes I sneak around and listen in subways. Or I listen at soda fountains, and doyou know what?""What?""People don't talk about anything.""Oh, they must!""No, not anything. They name a lot of cars or clothes or swimming-pools mostly and say how swell! But they all say the same things and nobody says anything different from anyone else. And most of the time in the cafes they have the jokeboxes on and the same jokes most of the time, or the musical wall lit and all the coloured patterns running up and down, but it's only colour and all abstract. And at the museums, have you ever been? All abstract. That's all there is now.
When I was a boy my grandfather died, and he was a sculptor. He was also a very kind man who had a lot of love to give the world, and he helped clean up the slum in our town; and he made toys for us and he did a million things in his lifetime; he was always busy with his hands. And when he died, I suddenly realized I wasn’t crying for him at all, but for the things he did. I cried because he would never do them again, he would never carve another piece of wood or help us raise doves and pigeons in the back yard or play the violin the way he did, or tell us the jokes the way he did. He was part of us and when he died, all the actions stopped dead and there was no one to do them just the way he did. He was individual. He was an important man. I’ve never gotten over his death. Often I think, what wonderful carvings never came to birth because he died. How many jokes are missing from the world, and how many homing pigeons untouched by his hands. He shaped the world. He did things to the world. The world was bankrupted of ten million fine actions the night he passed on.
Coloured people don’t like Little Black Sambo. Burn it. White people don’t feel good about Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Burn it. Someone’s written a book on tobacco and cancer of the lungs? The cigarette people are weeping? Burn the book. Serenity, Montag. Peace, Montag. Take your fight outside. Better yet, into the incinerator. Funerals are unhappy and pagan? Eliminate them, too. Five minutes after a person is dead he’s on his way to the Big Flue, the Incinerators serviced by helicopters all over the country. Ten minutes after death a man’s a speck of black dust. Let’s not quibble over individuals with memoriams. Forget them. Burn them all, burn everything. Fire is bright and fire is clean.
Off-hours, yes. But time to think? If you're not driving a hundred miles an hour, at a clip where you can't think of anything else but the danger, then you're playing some game or sitting in some room where you can't argue with the four wall televisor. Why? The televisor is ‘real.’ It is immediate, it has dimension. It tells you what to think and blasts it in. It must be, right. It seems so right. It rushes you on so quickly to its own conclusions your mind hasn't time to protest, ‘What nonsense!'
We are living in a time when flowers are trying to live on flowers, instead of growing on good rain and black loam. Even fireworks, for all their prettiness, come from the chemistry of the earth. Yet somehow we think we can grow, feeding on flowers and fireworks, without completing the cycle back to reality.
Evo ti, Montag! Nije do ovoga došlo odozgor, od vlade! Nije bilo nikakve naredbe, nikakve obznane, nikakve cenzure isprva, ne! Tehnologija, masovna eksploatacija i pritisak manjina polučili su cilj, Bogu hvala. Danas, zahvaljujući njima, sve vrijeme možeš biti sretan, dopušteno ti je čitati stripove, dobre stare vjerske knjige ili stručne časopise." str. 63.
Ritornò a fissare la parete. E come, la faccia di lei, assomigliava inoltre a uno specchio! Impossibile; perché, quante persone hai mai conosciuto che riflettessero la tua propria luce verso di te? Le persone erano più spesso -cercò un paragone, ne trovò uno nel campo della sua attività professionale- come torce, che si consumavano fimmeggiando fino a spegnersi con un sibilio. Quanto raramente le facce degli altri s'imprimevano nella tua immagine e ti rimandavano la tua stessa espressione, il tuo più segreto, incerto pensiero!
Alguém deve deixar alguma coisa para trás quando morre, dizia o meu avô. Um filho, ou um livro, ou um quadro, ou uma casa, ou uma parede construída ou um par de sapatos feitos à mão. Ou um jardim plantado. Alguma coisa em que a nossa alma tenha para onde ir quando morremos e, quando as pessoas olharem para essa árvore ou flor que plantámos, nós estamos lá. Não interessa aquilo que fazemos, dizia ele, desde que mudemos alguma coisa antes de lhe tocarmos e a transformarmos numa coisa que seja semelhante a nós depois de afastarmos as mãos. A diferença entre o homem que apenas apara relvados e um verdadeiro jardineiro está no toque, dizia ele. O cortador de relva pode não ter lá estado; o jardineiro ficará lá uma vida inteira.
Que la gente intervenga en concursos donde haya que recordar las palabras de las canciones más populares, o los nombres de las capitales de los Estados, o cuánto maíz cosechó Iowa el último año. Llénalos de noticias incombustibles. Sentirán que la información los ahoga, pero se creerán inteligentes.