Describe the TV program the ladies watched in Fahrenheit 451. Does it remind you of anything in our world?

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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When Montag walks into his home after visiting Faber, he sees Mildred, Mrs. Phelps, and Mrs. Bowles watching the three parlor-wall televisions. On one wall, a woman is smiling and drinking orange juice simultaneously. On the other two walls, an x-ray of the woman's stomach shows the journey of the orange juice traveling through her digestive tract. Suddenly, all three screens simulate a rocket flight into the clouds before plunging into a lime-green sea full of fish. A minute later, three white cartoon clowns laugh as they chop off each other's limbs. Two minutes later, the show simulates a derby where cars bash into each other in the middle of an arena as people are thrown from their cars.

While the television program that Mildred and her friends watch does not simulate a specific show, it serves as a compilation of the numerous senseless programs Americans watch on an everyday basis. The first two shows depicting the digestive tract of a woman drinking orange juice and a rocket flight into the clouds are reminiscent of shows found on the Discovery Channel. The shows on the Discovery Channel typically depict real life. The brief snippet of the three clowns laughing as they chop off each other's limbs is satirizing violent "slasher" movies that many Americans love. Many Americans find the senseless violence amusing and humorous. The derby scene is also satirizing violent action movies, which typically have a weak plot and are full of thrilling, exciting scenes like car chases and standoffs.

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sboeman eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The program that Mildred and her guests, Mrs. Phelps and Mrs. Bowles, watch is quite odd.  It is from "The Sieve and the Sand" - pgs. 93-94 in my edition.

The "wonderful" program (as the ladies call it) begins with a woman smiling while drinking orange juice and talking at the same time.  The TV then shows an x-ray of her stomach, then "...the room [takes] off on a rocket flight into the clouds...."  Montag then watches what seems to be senseless cartoon violence: fish eating other fish, clowns chopping off each other's limbs, etc.  Throughout all of these violent images, laughter can be heard.  The program segment finally ends with what seems to be a rather violent game of smash-up-derby complete with bodies flying in the air.  Montag, with his newfound insight, views all of this with extreme dislike.

As for how this relates to our own world, perhaps Bradbury is commenting on how people can become desensitized to violence - if we view it enough, it becomes "normal".  The book, though, was written in the 1950's, so perhaps Bradbury was simply speculating.  It is rather obvious that there are all kinds of violent programs and scenes viewed by the people in our culture - any prime-time TV show or movie could have numerous violent images.  Also, consider the shows that focus primarily on violence, such as the UFC; 1,000 Ways to Die; etc.

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kmj23 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In Part Two, Mildred and her two friends, Mrs. Bowles and Mrs. Phelps, watch a TV program together. On one of the parlor walls, there is a woman simultaneously smiling and drinking orange juice. On another wall, a X-ray tracks the progress of this orange juice into the woman's stomach.

Suddenly, the images change and a rocket ship takes off into the air before landing in the sea. Some blue fish eat red and yellow fish.

Next, three White Clowns begin cutting off each other's limbs while laughter plays in the background.

Finally, some jets cars "wildly circle" an arena. The cars hit each other and Montag watches as a number of bodies come flying into the air.

This TV program is very different to the types of programs we watch. There is no real plot line or story to follow. Instead, viewers are subjected to constantly changing images which appear illogical and disjointed.

The first two images are, perhaps, similar to some of our TV commercials. The third part, however, is so violent that it would probably not be broadcast on our daytime television. As the for fourth part, this resembles car racing on television, but the appearance of jets cars makes it seem far more futuristic than any programs we currently have.

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