In Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, who or what does Mildred consider to be her "family"?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Throughout the novel, Mildred considers the characters of the interactive television shows she watches on her parlour walls to be her family. Mildred is obsessed with watching her parlour wall televisions, which take up three entire walls of her home. The interactive shows allow Mildred to engage with the characters, who act as her surrogate family. The fact that Mildred refers to the characters of the interactive television shows as her 'family' reveals the shallowness of society and lack of authentic, genuine family relationships that exist in the dystopian civilization. Despite Mildred's lack of meaningful conversations and scripted interactions, she continues to view the television characters as her family and tells Montag,`family' is people. They tell me things; I laugh, they laugh! And the colours!" (Bradbury, 34)

Mildred's perception of her family also illustrates her loneliness and superficial nature. She lacks authentic, meaningful relationships and confides in the characters of the interactive television shows she watches. 

lhc eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Mildred Montag spends most of the hours of her day watching television, and considers the characters in her programs to be her "family".  She's an interesting character, because she appears to be a shallow fool who rarely, if ever, has an independent thought; in other words, she fits perfectly into the society in which she lives.  There is friction between Mildred and her husband when he begins to question the status quo, and worst of all, recite poetry.  However, when she overdoses on pills, the reader is left to wonder, did she just forget how many she took, being the dimwit that she is, or does she understand more than she lets on about the nature of the society she lives in and deliberately tried to end her life out of quiet desperation? 

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Fahrenheit 451

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