Compare and contrast Mildred and Clarisse. Can either character survive in their society? What roles do they play in their society? How did their personalities develop?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Clarisse is Montag's affable neighbor who enjoys nature, conversations, and leisure time with her family. Clarisse's positive attitude and love for life make Montag aware of his own meaningless existence. Clarisse is scrutinized by her teachers and essentially shunned by society because she is vibrant and acts differently than her peers. Clarisse inherits her lively, curious personality from her family. They are loving, intelligent people who raised a charismatic daughter.

Mildred is Clarisse's foil throughout the novel. Mildred is shallow, callous, and insensitive. She constantly watches the parlor televisions and listens to her Seashell radios to escape from reality. Mildred is unaware of her meaningless existence and is content living a superficial, unexamined life. Mildred's personality has been shaped by the authoritarian government that promotes constant entertainment and violence.

Clarisse does not fit into the dystopian society and is viewed as an outcast, while Mildred is the typical, ignorant citizen who passively accepts the authoritarian agenda. In my opinion, neither character can survive in the dystopian society. Clarisse will eventually be arrested by the government or killed by a savage citizen. Although Mildred might live longer, she will probably die of an overdose. Interestingly, both characters do not survive in the story.

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Fahrenheit 451

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