In "Fahrenheit 451", what are the effects of the war as Montag imagined them?

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kmj23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Towards the end of the novel, as the bombs begin to drop over the city, Montag imagines what is happening to the people trapped inside.

First of all, he imagines Faber, out there in the "deep valleys" of the country. In Montag's mind, Faber has made the 5 a.m. bus and is traveling from one destination to another. The destination, however, is no longer a "metropolis." Thanks to the bombs, it has become a "junkyard."

Next, Montag imagines his wife, Mildred, sitting in a hotel room somewhere in the city. In the seconds before the bombs hit, Mildred is engrossed in the bright colors and sounds of the parlor walls. When the first bomb hits, Montag imagines that the parlor walls stop broadcasting and Mildred catches a glimpse of her reflection. She sees her "wildly empty face" before being killed by the second bomb blast.

Bradbury never reveals what really happens to Faber and Mildred, leaving the reader to wonder if Montag's imaginings contain some truth. Instead, Bradbury focuses on the future, a future in which Montag and the Book People have an opportunity to rebuild society.

mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As the jets are screaming overhead, Montag imagines the destruction.  He imagines Faber on his bus heading out of town, hopefully safe, but for sure "its destination would be meaningless, and its point of departure changed from metropolis to junkyard."  Then he imagines Mildred in her hotel room, watching the t.v. walls "where the family talked and talked and talked to her", and then when the bombs strike, Montag imagines that he "heard her screaming, because...she saw her own face..and it was such a wild, empty face,...starved and eating of itself" before the hotel collapses on her.  It's a sad imagining, of Mildred realizing the emptiness that she has become, and that emptiness seems to scare her more than the impending doom of the bombers.  In the second that it takes the jets to bomb the city, Montag imagines these scenes, then is, with the other men, literally bowled over by the impact of the bomb.  This leaves them alone, left to rebuilt the city, hopefully better.