Who is Mildred and how are we introduced to her in Fahrenheit 451?

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schulzie | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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Mildred is Montag's wife and the exact opposite of Clarisse. When we first meet her, she has taken an overdose of drugs.  She is lying on the bed with earphones on and

"...an electronic ocean of sound, of music and talk and music and talk coming in, coming in on the shore of her unsleeping mind." (pg 12)

Clarisse has just told Montag that he is unhappy, and although he denies it, he realizes that she is correct.  As he looks at Mildred, he thinks,

"There had been no night in the last two years that Mildred had not swum that sea, had not gladly gone down in it for the third time." (pg 12)

Montag calls the paramedics and they put new blood into her.  They tell Montag that this problem is so prevalent, they have invented a machine to take care of it.  Doctors are not needed.  Mildred does not remember it the next morning and continues to take her pills and drown herself in the TV, music, and her drugs.  Montag and Mildred have not communicated for a long time.  When Montag asks her where and when they met, she couldn't even tell him. (pg 43)  He thinks,

"...suddenly she was so strange he couldn't believe he knew her at all.....And he remembered thinking then that if she died, he was certain he wouldn't cry.  For it would be the dying of an unknown." (pg 43-44)

Mildred is a puppet of the government.  While Clarisse respects thinking, Mildred is constantly watching the three walls of television, not entertaining a thought in her head.  When Montag challenges her thinking with his idea of books and their importance, Mildred rebels and turns him in to the government.  Clarisse stimulates his thinking processes; Mildred stagnates his thinking processes. 

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