Mrs. Phelps and Mrs. Bowles are Mildred Montag's friends who come over to watch television with her one night. These women represent the decline of humans in a world without more significant things to do with their lives than to watch TV and be self-involved. When Guy Montag turns off the TVs, the women are irritated. He tells the women he notices that their husbands are not with them that night. Mrs. Phelps explains that the army called up her husband, Pete, but that he would be back in a couple of days. Mrs. Bowles never offers any explanation for where her husband is.
Mrs. Phelps, however, proves just how disconnected she and her husband are from their marital relationship by saying the following:
"Anyway, Pete and I always said, no tears, nothing like that. It's our third marriage each and we're independent. . . He said, if I get killed off, you just go right ahead and don't cry, but get married again, and don't think of me" (95).
Mr. and Mrs. Phelps are examples of the decline of loyalty and love in personal relationships if society becomes too distracted by entertainment and insignificant ideas and beliefs. Mrs. Phelps also doesn't have any children because she's so self-absorbed and a result of the society in which she lives.
Mrs. Bowles, on the other hand, does have two kids but says that they are physically easy to have if you have them by Caesarian section. She goes on to say the following:
"I plunk the children in school nine days out of ten. I put up with them when they come home three days a month; it's not bad at all. You heave them into the 'parlor' and turn the switch. It's like washing clothes: stuff laundry in and slam the lid" (96).
This woman exemplifies bad parenting and poor relationship skills as well. Later on, Montag brings up the fact that Mrs. Bowles has also had abortions as a way to rid herself of unwanted children--a common practice for this society to avoid responsibility and to be selfish.