What is a comparison/contrast between Mildred and Clarisse in Fahrenheit 451?

In Fahrenheit 451, Clarisse McClellan and Mildred Montag are both members of an oppressive society. Clarisse, however, refuses to conform. She thinks and questions and inspires others to curiosity and wonder. Clarisse strives to be fully alive. Mildred, on the other hand, is mostly numb and unthinking. She is also horribly unhappy, yet she betrays her own husband for the sake of conformity.

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Both Clarisse McClellan and Mildred Montag are caught up in a society beyond their control, a society that oppresses them and tries to regulate everything they do and say and think. Yet these two characters respond very differently to that coercion.

Seventeen-year-old Clarisse is a free spirit. She is curious,...

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Both Clarisse McClellan and Mildred Montag are caught up in a society beyond their control, a society that oppresses them and tries to regulate everything they do and say and think. Yet these two characters respond very differently to that coercion.

Seventeen-year-old Clarisse is a free spirit. She is curious, open, intellectual, and appealing. She asks question after question as she tries to understand her world. She is not afraid to think and explore and wonder. Even in a world that wants people half-dead and unthinking, Clarisse is alive and engaged and enthusiastic. Further, she encourages the people around her to think and to question. Her brilliance inspires Montag to awaken in his mind. Her questions make him question. Her happiness makes him realize that he is not happy. When Clarisse is killed, Montag finally decides the time has come for him to act. He must become the free spirit that Clarisse was.

Mildred Montag, on the other hand, is half-dead. She follows society's demands to the point of numbness. Her whole life consists of watching television and listening to the radio. She does not think or question or try to understand anything. She merely plods along day after day. Of course, Mildred is not happy. In fact, she is miserable, and that's why she tries to commit suicide at the beginning of the novel by swallowing a whole bottle of sleeping pills. When her husband begins to wake up and read, Mildred decides that unthinking conformity is more important than her husband, and she betrays him to the authorities. Indeed, Mildred is merely an empty shell of a woman who lacks anything in the way of intellectual, emotional, or spiritual sparks that could enlighten her mind and heart.

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Mildred and Clarisse are polar opposites, but both are alike in the fact that they are both destroyed by their dystopian society.

Despite being so unhappy at her empty life that she attempts suicide as the novel opens, Mildred tries as hard as possible to conform to social norms. She endlessly watches mindless television shows on the giant television screens in her parlor. She is so lost in a shallow fantasy world that she and Montag barely relate to each another anymore. When he tries to persuade her to join him in pursuing a better life through books, she reacts in fear, because books are illegal. Finally, rather than support her husband, she betrays him to the authorities. Not long after, she is blown up in the nuclear combat that destroys her city.

Clarisse reacts to the sickness in her society by ignoring its unhealthy norms and being, like the rest of her family, a non-conformist. She takes walks and interacts with nature, spends her time having conversations rather than watching television, and, as Beatty puts it, persists in asking "why" questions. When she meets and talks to Montag, he feels seen and alive for the first time in years, because she actually connects with him on a human level. Yet, like Mildred, she is killed by her society. We learn she is run over by a car filled with bored, violent teenagers looking for thrills.

Taken together, Mildred and Clarisse illustrate the severe challenges faced by those trying to find happiness and fulfillment in their world.

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Both Clarisse McClellan and Mildred play a significant role in Montag's life and motivate him to quit his occupation in order to pursue knowledge. After Montag interacts with Clarisse, he begins to examine his meaningless, mundane lifestyle and question his occupation. Montag then witnesses Mildred overdose on sleeping pills and realizes that he is trapped in a loveless marriage. Mildred's lack of compassion and superficial, dangerous lifestyle influence Montag to quit his job as a firefighter and begin looking in books for answers to life's most pressing questions.

Although both females significantly influence Montag's life, Clarisse and Mildred share little in common. Clarisse is a charismatic teenager who is outspoken and extremely curious. Clarisse has an affinity for nature, enjoys engaging in meaningful conversations, and is considered an outcast in Bradbury's dystopian society. She is also quite intuitive and intelligent, which Montag finds refreshing and pleasant. In contrast, Mildred is depicted as a superficial, shallow woman who is addicted to consuming mindless entertainment and prescription medications. Mildred is a materialistic, heartless character who refuses to closely examine herself. Mildred cannot engage in a meaningful conversation, does not support Montag's intellectual pursuits, and eventually turns him in to the authorities for reading poetry aloud. Overall, Clarisse and Mildred both dramatically influence Montag's decision to change the trajectory of his life but share little in common and are considered foils in the novel.

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Mildred and Clarisse are two women who affect the life of Montag. Clarisse walks around outside and talks with people, asking them how they feel. On the other hand, Mildred stays indoors, unconcerned about emotions or anything very personal.

When Montag meets Clarisse, he notices how her eyes refract his own light. With Clarisse he feels a glowing sensation; however, after he enters his own house,

it feels "like coming into the cold marbled room of a mausoleum after the moon has set.

He finds Mildred with the thimble radio in her ears; her eyes stare blankly because she has overdosed on sleeping tablets, and he must phone the emergency number. On the following day, Mildred acts as though nothing unusual has happened. She is only concerned with watching the large screens in her living room and interacting with characters on the screen. But, when he talks with Clarisse, she is interested in Montag, having asked him if he ever reads the books he confiscates and burns; she also wants to know what he thinks.

Because of her intellectual curiosity and interest in human feelings, Clarisse poses a danger to Montag that Mildred, who refuses to have anything to do with the books that Montag later brings some into the house. In fact, Clarisse is responsible for the metamorphosis of Montag as he moves from fireman to one who reads and protects books. For it is she who has asked Montag if he ever reads the books he confiscates; it is Clarisse who has sparked Montag's interest in learning of the human experience through reading.

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