Explain the symbolic wall between Montag and Mildred. Part I- The Hearth and the Salamander

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Montag comes to realize that the emotionless existence that he has lived with Mildred is no long valid.  Once he meets Clarisse, his young neighbor who is creative and inquisitive about life, has conversations and talks about her feelings, actually lives a life that is forbidden by the authorities, Montag sees the emptiness of his own existence.

The wall between them is most keenly felt after Mildred attempts suicide by overdosing on pills, has her stomach pumped by the authorities, and then, does not remember any of it.  Montag longs to talk to his wife about what caused her to take the pills, but she denies that it ever happened.

He looks at this event as real evidence that he had no connection with his wife, and, that there is no way to make a connection, that is what really hurts Montag.

"After his meeting with Clarisse McClellan and after his wife takes an overdose of pills, Montag begins to question his role as a book burner. He has already taken a few books illegally from the fires he has started and he begins to read them."

Montag questions his own life, his job, his existence, after he is unable to have a real conversation with his wife about the depth of her despair.  Mildred's attempted suicide, if it was that, or just the act of someone who does not pay attention to her actions, and accidentally took too many pills, either way, it is a wake-up call for Montag who sees that there lives are empty and meaningless.


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Montag and Mildred are married, and are not happy but function together as a unit. Mildred's existence is centred around the television, a screen that takes up an entire wall. Her desire is to have television screens in all four walls. This would completely box her in. It would symbolize her total separation from the world outside of the television. Mildred's television characters are more real to her than her relationships in real time. However, she is unhappy. Montag comes home to...

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