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Describe Mildred Montag from Fahrenheit 451, what is her function in the novel and what...

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Jessicamarieee2 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 21, 2013 at 5:04 PM via web

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Describe Mildred Montag from Fahrenheit 451, what is her function in the novel and what does she represent?

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karlalicious | Student, Grade 10 | Honors

Posted January 30, 2014 at 1:01 AM (Answer #2)

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Describe Mildred Montag from Fahrenheit 451, what is her function in the novel and what does she represent?

Mildred is a major character in this novel, she is describe white colored skin with burnt hair. Mildred is obsessed with television. Mildred is deeply unhappy. She’s severely bothered by the fact that her life is empty and filled with hours of mindless television. But in this world, it's Mildred’s job to be happy. Remember when she insists to her husband that she’s satisfied with their life, ’m proud of it she says. She’s done her duty by convincing herself she’s happy. Since Mildred is the poster child for the average citizen in this future world, we start to wonder if maybe everyone isn’t a desperate suicide case with a shiny smiling veneer. Her suicide attempt suggests that she is in great pain and that her obsession with television is a means to avoid confronting her life. But her true feelings are buried very deep within her. She even appears to be unaware of her own suicide attempt. She is a frightening character, because the reader would expect to know the protagonist’s wife very intimately, but she is completely cold, distant, and unreadable. Her betrayal of Montag is far more severe than Beatty’s, since she is, after all, his wife. Bradbury portrays Mildred as a shell of a human being, devoid of any sincere emotional, intellectual, or spiritual substance. Her only attachment is to the “family” in the soap opera she watches.

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amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted November 21, 2013 at 7:32 PM (Answer #1)

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Mildred is an obedient citizen. She lives vicariously through the lives of her "family" on the parlour shows. Therefore, he real life is basically empty. Her relationship with Montag is superficial at best. She does not spend any significant time with him, let alone talk about anything meaningful. She is mentally pacified by the parlour shows and this effectively shuts out the real world. She also takes pills to physically pacify herself. She is exactly what the firemen and authorities want: an obedient citizen who does not challenge authority and who does not think for herself. Mildred is so oblivious and thoughtless about the real world, that she forgets to tell Montag that Clarisse had been killed: 

Whole family moved out somewhere. But she's gone for good. I think she's dead. 

No. The same girl. McClellan. McClellan, Run over by a car. Four days ago. I'm not sure. But I think she's dead. The family moved out anyway. I don't know. But I think she's dead. 

As part of his awakening and transformation, Montag must rebel against the society that promotes thoughtlessness. Therefore, he must try to persuade Mildred to wake up as well or he must eventually abandon her. Mildred functions as Montag's last personal tie to his old life. Finally letting her go will be part of his transition from his old life to his new life. 

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