In "Fahrenheit 451," what is Bradbury's purpose in having Mildred turn Montag in to the authorities?Part 3: Burning Bright

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amy-lepore's profile pic

amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Bradbury's purpose here is very much the same as Orwell's purpose in 1984 or Hitler's purpose in founding the Nazi youth:  fear works wonders, and brainwashing people helps to instill the fear.  Teaching people to turn on loved ones and report their behavior and speech when what they do and say (or think) goes against what the government deems appropriate puts everyone on guard and on his/her best behavior.

Montag loved Millie, but obviously the feeling was unrequited.  Millie is the epitome of the brainwashed simpleton that the government turns out and acts as additional police force.  Montag was safe as long as he kept his oppositional thoughts and the books to himself--Millie may have even kept the books a secret, but when he begins to recite poetry to her and her friends, there is no choice for her but to send in the alarm. 

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clane | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

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Bradbury has Mildred call in the alarm to show the absence of loyalty to family in Montag's society. She doesn't even think twice about it and as soon as Beatty shows up on Montag's doorstep she flees without a glance in Montag's direction.

"Mildred came down the steps, running, one suitcase held with a dreamlike clenching rigidity in her fist . . . She ran past with her body stiff, her face floured with powder, her mouth gone, without lipstick."

She was just a body, no mouth (yes without lipstick) metaphorically she does not even speak for herself, she is just wearing the mask of society or perhaps has become that very mask. She was simply cohabiting with him but there was no love, there was no depth, there was no marriage. Montag didn't realize when he married Mildred but after being exposed to the wonder of the written word he begins to develop as a human being. He begins to have depth to soul and meaning in his life. Bradbury write Mildred as his accuser to show the stark difference in their personalities. Mildred is loyal to the rules she's been brainwashed to follow and Montag is loyal to his friends Clarisse, the Professor, and the books.

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luannw | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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Mildred is shown throughout the novel as a weak, unintelligent woman, who is typical of the society that Montag tries to thwart by reading.  Bradbury's message in the novel is to warn people of what happens when society no longer reads.  He wrote this book in the early years of television, yet he saw that people were getting away from the written word and gravitating toward the electronic media and instant gratification.  He saw that people wanted to be entertained, not intellectually challenged and in this book, he hoped to suggest what a society that continued in that direction would be like.  Since Mildred is typical of that non-thinking, non-feeling society, she has no problems turning in her husband.  Mildred thinks only of herself and how the world affects her, not how she affects the world.  She doesn't care that Guy is her husband; she only knows that if she doesn't turn him in and someone else does, she could go down with him and that would not be pleasant for her.  She would lose her home and her TV family - something she would find unbearable.

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jada155's profile pic

jada155 | Student | eNotes Newbie

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The purpose of having Mildred is to show that just because she is diffrent from other that dosent mean she cant have an husband to stop seeing about her because of her sickness.And they probably puit her in this novel to chanqe Montag mind about thangs and to stop him from doing illegal thangs that the law dosent require..

jada155's profile pic

jada155 | Student | eNotes Newbie

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The purpose of having Mildred is to show that just because she is diffrent from other that dosent mean she cant have an husband to stop seeing about her because of her sickness.

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