In Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, what do you think Montag learns from reading the last page of the script?

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luannw's profile pic

luannw | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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Montag probably learns that the script is so blandly generic and meaningless that it could apply to anyone.  Millie is excited because she thinks that she has an actual part in the play and that the characters are truly waiting for her script lines alone.  In reality, the script shows that the lines that Millie speaks are bland enough that a million others could have the exact same script -and they probably do after having dutifully sent in their boxtops to get their scripts.  Also, the plot of the script is most likely one that is mindless as is most of what is on the shows that Millie watches.  Bradbury was trying to show how neutral and politically correct everything had become.  He wanted to show that entertainment was more important than enlightenment in the society of "Fahrenheit 451".

jameadows's profile pic

jameadows | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

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Montag halfheartedly asks Mildred what's on TV after failing to get her to admit that she took too many sleeping pills the night before. He knows that the plays on TV are the only things that interest her. She mailed in some box tops so that she could play the missing role in a play, and when the actors' dialogue stops, Mildred supplies the missing lines.

The entire play is seemingly quite bland, featuring lines such as "I think that's fine!" The point is to consume people's time with meaningless chatter so that they don't think. Montag asks Mildred if the play has a happy ending, and she replies that she doesn't know because she hasn't read that far. He takes the last page, reads it, and returns it to her. It likely features a happy ending because that would be in keeping with the insipid types of dramas that the government wants people to watch. Also, Montag would likely object if Mildred were going to watch something with an unhappy ending, as she has just overdosed on sleeping pills, but he does not object. Instead, after reading the last page of the script, he promptly leaves the house. 

kmj23's profile pic

kmj23 | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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Montag takes the script from Mildred because he wants to know if it has a "happy ending." While Montag does not reveal the outcome, we can infer what it contains from Bradbury's description:

He walked over, read the last page, nodded, folded the script and handed it back to her. He walked out of the house into the rain.

That Montag nods suggests that he has guessed correctly. The script has a happy ending and Montag is able to predict this outcome because, by this stage of the book, he understands the true nature of his society. That is, his society is focused on keeping people happy and does not want them to think about negative or complex issues.

Furthermore, the Family and the shows on the parlour walls are designed purely to entertain. We see this through the content and the simplicity of the language. If the shows became more serious (by not having a happy ending), they might resemble the content of books and Montag's book-burning society would never allow this to happen.


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