In Fahrenheit 451, how does Montag's society feel about children and motherhood?

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

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In Fahrenheit 451, the society promotes isolation, and looks down on any kind of family bonds. Therefore, close relationships are not encouraged, and women do not consider giving birth or raising children an important part of life. In one section, Montag listens to Mrs. Bowles, Mildred's friend, talk about how easy it was to give birth- simply schedule the Cesarean section for whenever fits your busy life. She also discusses how important the TV walls are in their lives. The assumption here is that those walls are raising her children, not her. It's clear that the births of her children are no more significant than the latest episodes of their favorite show. In fact, they seem to mean much less to her.

Again, this is because the society frowns upon close family relationships. This is why the McClellans are shunned. They don't watch TV; instead, they sit and talk together as a family. That is odd behavior inhe world of the novel, and it is what eventually leads to their eradication by the government.

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mlsldy3 | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

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The society in Fahrenheit 451 is a society of isolation. The higher ups don't want any close bonds to form between any of the people in town. Therefore they believe that burning the books will eliminate the outside influence on what motherhood and families should look like. They believe that children are just an accessory and not important to their way of life. All of the houses have the TV wall in their homes so people will just sit and watch whatever they think the people should be seeing. Mrs. Bowles explains the attitude that most of the town feels towards children:

"I plunk the children in school nine days out of ten. I put up with them when they come home three days a month; it's not bad at all. You heave them into the 'parlor' and turn the switch. It's like washing clothes: stuff laundry in and slam the lid." 

This is a very sad way of looking at raising children. This is the attitude that the society has about children and motherhood. They do not believe that there should be any kind of maternal bonding and as soon as the children are old enough, they are shipped off to school. When they are allowed to come home the TV walls do the raising, not the mother. When we read this book we think about some far off place, but in reality we are actually living parts of that society now. How many times do children come home from school and sit in front of a TV or some other device? When we really think about it, we are that society.


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