In Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, how does Mildred feel about Guy owning books?

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kmj23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

After Beatty's visit to their home in Part One of Fahrenheit 451, Montag reveals his hidden stash of books to Mildred. Her reaction is a combination of shock and intense fear, as we see in the text:

Mildred backed away as if she were suddenly confronted by a pack of mice that had come up out of the floor. He could hear her breathing rapidly and her face was paled out and her eyes were fastened wide. 

Mildred then (unsuccessfully) tries to set fire to one of Montag's books by burning it in the incinerator. In doing this, she literally rejects his ownership of books and makes very clear that she has no interest in sharing his hobby.

As the plot develops, Montag's books become a source of major concern and anxiety for Mildred: she is terrified that the authorities will find out that Montag has books in his possession and that the firemen will destroy her home. This fear then transforms into a need for self-preservation: eventually, she reports Montag and his books to Captain Beatty and then disappears off into the city. 

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Fahrenheit 451

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