In Fahrenheit 451, how does Clarisse's presence emphasize Mildred's traits, attitude, and actions?

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In stark contrast to the dehumanized Mildred, Clarisse encounters Montag on his homeward walk and engages in a conversation with him about real things. She says that she likes to "smell things, look at things, and sometimes stay up all night, walking, and watch the sun rise." So, she concludes that she has much time "for crazy thoughts." Then, Montag sees their house, with all the lights on; he asks, "What is going on?" and Clarisse replies that her family stays up and talks at night. When Montag asks her what they talk about, Clarisse laughs at his question and says, "Good-night." As Montag continues homeward, he thinks about Clarisse's eyes, two "miraculous bits of violet amber that might capture and hold him."And he recalls that she has asked him if he ever reads any of the books he burns, and she adds, "You never stop to think what I've asked you."

When he arrives home, he glances at a blank wall and sees the girl's face. Montag wonders, 

How rarely did other people's faces take of you and throw back to you your own expression, your own innermost trembling thought?

But, in contrast to the warm lights of the house of Clarisse, Montag opens the door to the bedroom, and it feels as though he has entered a marbled room of a mausoleum. Mildred's lifeless form is in her bed, but all her sleeping pills are gone. When the medics come to pump her stomach, Montag wishes they could pump up Mildred's brain, too. For, all she can do is listen to the himble radios in her ears and watch the wall-to-wall circuit television. She never wants to discuss anything with Montag as Clarisse would.