Please explain the quote on pg 44 in the 50th anniversary edition that starts with "For it would be dying of an unknown..." until end of paragraph.

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This quote represents a further stage in Montag's self-awareness of the emptiness of his life and of his world. He is reflecting on Mildred's attempted suicide attempt and thinking about how he would have reacted if the doctors hadn't been able to save her:

For it would be the dying of an unknown, a street face, a newspaper image, and it was suddenly so very wrong that he had begun to cry, not at death but at the thought of not crying at death, a silly empty man near a silly empty woman, while the hungry snake made her stilll more empty.

Montag reflects that he wouldn't cry because he never really knew Mildred, and this makes him cry because deep down he realises how wrong this situation is - to not cry at death, to become so desensitised and empty. He realises that both he and Mildred have become "silly" and "empty" because of the society they live in. The "hungry snake" is a metaphor that refers to the machine used by the doctors to pump out Mildred's stomach.

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Fahrenheit 451

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