What is the significance of Mildred's TV script in Fahrenheit 451?

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belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Mildred, Montag's wife, is obsessed with television, like many people in the novel's society. Most entertainment and news is broadcast over television, controlled by the government. At one point, Mildred is seen reading a TV script, which she describes:

She didn't look up from her script again. "Well, this is a play comes on the wall-to-wall circuit in ten minutes. They mailed me my part this morning. I sent in some box-tops. They write the script with one part missing. It's a new idea."
(Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451, Google Books)

The idea is that instead of passively watching scripted entertainment, people now participate directly; in this case, a popular show chooses an audience member to play the live role of a minor character. In this fashion, the audience can pretend that they are active in their entertainment, even though the character and script are written by others. Her happy participation in the television program shows the level to which society is manipulated by television, and her own level of obsession with popular culture as defined by television.

gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As was mentioned in the previous post, Mildred is obsessed with her parlour wall interactive televisions. These interactive television shows provide their audiences a chance to participate by giving them scripts that are read aloud during the shows. Mildred explains to Montag that she is playing the character of Helen but cannot describe the plot of the interactive show. Her scripted lines are insignificant and have no meaning attached to them. However, Mildred's fascination and willingness to participate in the interactive television shows satirizes America's obsession with television. It also reveals the impact that entertainment has had on the citizens living in Bradbury's dystopian society. In Bradbury's dystopian society, citizens are constantly entertained to the point that individuals can even pretend to be a member of a fake television family. Interestingly, Mildred views the members of the interactive television shows as her real family.