What did Mildred tell Montag when he asked if she had seen Clarisse?

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tinicraw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Mildred is interesting because she is so self-involved that she doesn't really know what is going on outside of her own home. She's always watching three television screens at once, listening to her music, or sleeping. When Montag asks her about Clarisse, the girl next door, it takes Mildred a minute to grasp who he is talking about. After a little prodding by Montag, Mildred remembers who he means and says "I think she's gone. . . I meant to tell you. Forgot. Forgot" (47). Mildred forgets because she is too wrapped up in herself to remember someone else, or something as important as the following:

"The same girl. McClellan. McClellan. Run over by a car. Four days ago. I'm not sure. But I think she's dead. The family moved out anyway. I don't know. But I think she's dead" (47).

Mildred is the perfect citizen for an illiterate and hedonist society. Had she been able to tear herself away from her soap operas for one minute and taken an interest in her neighbors, she probably would have seen what Montag saw in Clarisse--life. This is just another reason why Montag feels something is wrong with their society. If someone, or a whole family, can disappear and the neighbors either don't care or don't take notice of it, there's something seriously wrong.