To what does Ray Bradbury compare the conversation of the ladies in his novel Fahrenheit 451? 

To what does Ray Bradbury compare the conversation of the ladies in his novel Fahrenheit 451?

 

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tinicraw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Mildred has her friends Mrs. Phelps and Mrs. Bowles over to watch the parlor walls one night. Montag is finishing up dinner when they come to the door, and he describes Mildred's responding behavior "like a native fleeing an eruption of Vesuvius." Then, when the visitors come through the door and head to the parlor, he describes their conversation "like a monstrous crystal chandelier tinkling in a thousand chimes" (93). This means that their talk is high-pitched and meaningless, such as one might hear from a chandelier hanging above the heads of people at a party. The partygoers can hear it, but it means nothing. He also compares their smiles to the Cheshire Cat and describes their talk as "screaming" above the sounds permeating from the three TVs in the parlor.

Montag decides to unplug the walls and put an end to the women's TV-watching. With nothing left to do but talk, that's what happens. Unfortunately, Montag is so disappointed in the selfishness the women show when discussing their husbands and children that he feels they are completely clueless to their own plight. He describes these women as clueless as the strange faces that he once saw painted inside of a church he had visited as a child. As he searched the paintings of saints in the church, he found nothing to help fill the emptiness and void of life therein. This is how Montag feels about the ladies' conversation at the moment, too—empty and void of feeling or purpose. The description from the text is as follows:

"But there was nothing, nothing; it was a stroll through another store, and his currency strange and unusable there, and his passion cold" (95).

As shown and discussed above, the ladies are clueless about how selfish and void of humanity they are. Montag compares them to paintings of saints in a church that have the likeness of humanity, but lack the heart required to qualify them as humans. He thinks they might as well be inanimate paintings on a wall instead of using up time and space with their empty existence.

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Fahrenheit 451

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