In the scene where Mildred and Montag read books together, what are their separate reactions in Faherenheit 451?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At the end of Part One, Montag pulls down about twenty books from the ventilator of his home. Mildred is initially terrified to learn that her husband has been hiding contraband books in their house and attempts to throw the novels into the incinerator. However, Montag stops Mildred and explains to her that they need to read the novels in order to figure out their lives. As the two sit in silence and read the novels, Montag walks throughout his home reading sentences over and over while Mildred continually glances at her blank parlor walls. Mildred then becomes frustrated and upset while they are reading. She kicks a book and begins to complain that "books aren't people." Mildred can only think about her "family" on the interactive televisions in the parlor and believes that reading is a waste of time. In contrast, Montag believes that reading books is well worth the challenge. He is in search of knowledge that might help him live a fulfilled life and believes that books might have important answers inside them. Montag is motivated to read and finds it necessary to look throughout the novels. Mildred fears that Beatty will find out they are reading and burn their home, but Montag thinks that reading is worth the risk. 

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When Montag and Mildred both read the books, Montag is much more interested than she is, because she prefers the “relatives” in the parlor television.

Montag feels that the answers to what happened to Clarisse are in the books, but Mildred does not appreciate them.  They do not seem alive to her, like the people on television.

Mildred kicked at a book. "Books aren't people. You read and I look around, but there isn't anybody!" (Part II)

Mildred also worries about Captain Beatty, because she says he will come and burn the house down if he finds out they have the books.  She asks him why they should read, and he tells her that people are not really alive in their world.  All they have is television, and this is why people commit suicide so often.

Although Montag sees potential in books, Mildred can't imagine the value.  The books do not talk and laugh like the television, so they aren’t real to her.  She has no imagination and no intellect, so she can’t appreciate or understand them.

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Fahrenheit 451

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