Describe the two machines used on Mildred.

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kathik | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

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Early in the book, Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury, the protagonist, Guy Montag gets home from work to find that his wife, Mildred has taken an entire bottle of sleeping pills, so he calls in an emergency. Once the emergency crew arrive at the house, Mildred is hooked up to two machines. The first one pumps out her stomach while the second one pumps out and replaces all of her blood. They use both machines to make sure they get all of the poison out of her body.

"One of them slid down into your stomach like a black cobra down an echoing well looking for all the old water and the old time gathered there. It drank up the green matter that flowed to the top in a slow boil. Did it drink of the darkness? Did it suck out all the poisons accumulated with the years..." (Bradbury 8)

Both machines are operated by technicians. The first machine has an "eye" through which the operator can see the process. The second machine not only replaces the old blood but also the serum. The tech on the blood machine tells Montag,

"No use getting the stomach if you don't clean the blood. Leave that stuff in the blood and the blood hits the brain like a mallet, bang, a couple of thousand times and the brain just gives up, just quits." (Bradbury 8)

When they are finished, the technicians pack up and leave Montag with Mildred, her once pale cheeks now pink from the blood transfusion.

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