When Mildred wakes from her overdose in Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, what does she think happened to her?

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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In Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, Mildred overdoses on her sleeping pills and Montag has to call in technicians to pump her stomach, but, when Mildred wakes, she has no idea of what has happened to her.

This incident provides Montag (and the reader) with the knowledge that doctors are unable to attend to these kinds of emergencies because of the frequency with which they occur: nine or ten a night. This is just another indication of how dysfunctional society has become. When the men are finished working with Mildred, they must quickly leave to answer another call.

Mildred's overdose reinforces Montag's growing knowledge that while he would never have believed it a week before, he is finding now how little he understands or recognizes the world around him. There are billions of people in their society, but most are cut off in their own homes, never interacting with each other unless it is around the parlor wall TVs. 

When Montag wakes up the next morning, Mildred is not in her bed. Fearfully he runs to the kitchen, but she is simply listening to the "electronic bees" in her ears and making toast at the kitchen table. She explains that for some reason she is ravenously hungry. She has no recollection of the previous evening.

When Montag tries to explain about "last night," she asks:

"What about last night?"

"Don't you remember?"

"What? Did we have a wild party or something? Feel like I've a hangover. God, I'm hungry. Who was here?"

"A few people," he said.

"That's what I thought..."

Mildred hopes that she did not do anything to embarrass herself, and Montag assures her that she did not. She also notes that he does not look so good himself.

Ironically, Montag probably feels pretty sick even though he did not take any pills because it is frightening to him to learn the extent to which his wife has become cut off from the real world around her. She is attuned to whatever devices society provides to keep its citizens distracted—to the point that she does not even remember that she overdosed with sleeping pills the night before.

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