Compare and contrast the characters of Mildred and Clarisse in Fahrenheit 451.  How is one a threat to the stability of the ideas and the other an ideal character?  

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luannw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It's interesting that when Truffaut made the movie, back in the 1960's, he cast the same actress for both roles.  Mildred is a representation of what will happen to people who succumb to this type of society.  She does not think for herself, she does not think much at all.  She lives for entertainment and her safe routine.  She tells Montag that she wants a fourth wall television when they only recently bought the third wall TV.  Her only concern is her role in the TV drama.  She is terribly upset when Montag decides to stay home from work one day due to sickness because it upsets her usual routine.  Her concern when she knows Montag has books is for her own neck and what might happen to her. She is empty-headed.  Clarisse, on the other hand, represents the thinking person who reads and learns.  She tells Montag that she is considered odd because she likes to walk in nature and she likes to talk to people.  She doesn't like to participate in all the "fun" activities that occupy her peers because those activities are mindless.  She says that her family is considered odd because they sit and talk with one another rather than watch TV.  She is the one who gets Montag to start evaluating his life and the society by planting the seed of thought in him.  That makes her ideal.  Bradbury speaks to the reader, in part, through Clarisse.

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Fahrenheit 451

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