How does Mildred react after she wakes up from her previous night's experience?

1 Answer | Add Yours

mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

When Montag returns home after his self-revealing meeting with Clarisse, whose "face was like a mirror" that makes him confront himself, he does not even turn on the light of the bedroom because he already knows what he will see.

It was like coming into the cold marbled room of a mausoleum after the moon has set. Complete darkness, not a hint of the silver world outside, the windows tightly shut, the chamber a tomb world where no sound from the great city could penetrate. The room was not empty.

Mildred lies like a body on a slab in a morgue; she has earplugs with sounds and talk from a radio bombarding her brain. But, worse than that Mildred is cold and her breathing shallow from having taken sleeping pills. So, Montag calls the emergency number and men come with a machine and pump her stomach with the detachment of men cleaning a carpet. After he pays them, Montag asks why a physician has not been called; they reply that they respond to such calls on a regular basis. Montag feels completely alone after they leave, wondering if he knows anything any more because with Clarisse he has realized how anesthetized his life has become.

In the morning, Montag finds Mildred moving about in her habitual manner, oblivious to her close encounter with death because she is completely detached from life in her existence. For, when Montag tells her that she overdosed on sleeping pills, Mildred denies that she has done so, asking, "What would I want to go and do a silly thing like that for?" Then, Montag adds that what they say is part of the script sent to her as a result of her sending in two box tops, a script that will come on to the wall-to-wall circuit that comes on in ten minutes. For Mildred the lines between reality and non-reality are blurred. One is reminded of Macbeth's words after his first encounter with the preternatural creatures, the three witches, who issue predictions,
That function is smothered in surmise,
And nothing is but what is not. (1.7)
 
(Macbeth reflects here that his ability to act is "stifled by [his] thoughts and speculations," and all that matters are things that really do not even exist.]
Sources:

We’ve answered 318,944 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question