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Why did the Emergency Hospital send technicians instead of doctors to treat Mildred in...

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swimspac | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 20, 2013 at 8:03 PM via web

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Why did the Emergency Hospital send technicians instead of doctors to treat Mildred in Fahrenheit 451?

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 20, 2013 at 9:17 PM (Answer #1)

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Emergency Hospital sends technicians instead of doctors to treat suicide attempts because they have a machine for pumping stomachs and doctors are not needed.

In Fahrenheit 451, the people attempt suicide so often that there is a special “snake” used to pump their stomachs.  The snake is operated by technicians, so no doctors are needed. 

Montag is annoyed by the “impersonal” nature of the technicians.  One pumps the stomach, and the other replaces the blood.  He compares the woman whose stomach is being pumped to “a hard stratum of marble they had reached” (part 1).  The action of pumping her stomach is no more sympathetic than digging a trench.

Go on, anyway, shove the bore down, slush up the emptiness, if such a thing could be brought out in the throb of the suction snake. (part 1)

Apparently, suicide or drug use is quite common in Montag’s society.  There is very little emotion.  People live in a world of television and false reality.

And he thought of her lying on the bed with the two technicians standing straight over her, not bent with concern, but only standing straight, arms folded. (part 1)

Montag also realizes that he barely knows his wife, and therefore “he was certain he wouldn't cry” if she died.  He has come to fully realize how unreal his life is.

The impersonal way Mildred is treated has more of an effect on the reader than the earliest descriptions of the snake, which foreshadow Mildred's situation.  The reader sees the effect this life has on a familiar character.

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