In Fahrenheit 451 why do Millie, Mrs. Phelps and Mrs. Bowles cry when Montag reads a book?

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dneshan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Mildred, Mrs. Phelps, and Mrs. Bowles are products of the society in which they live.  Unlike Montag, they have never experienced real emotions or feelings.  Mildred's emotionless personality is evident in her relationship with her husband, and the reader can assume that Mrs. Phelps and Mrs. Bowles are the same way.  When Montag reads the poem "Dover Beach" to the women, they are introduced to words and feelings that they have never felt before; therefore, they cry because they (if only for a few seconds) begin to feel something when the words are read to them.

lynn30k eNotes educator| Certified Educator

They are also afraid. The government forbids such things, and as far as they know the "criminals" are always discovered. Each knows that if one of the others turns Montag in and they don't, they are also guilty of a crime. Millie knows she has lost everything, and that the man she is married to is someone that she really doesn't know at all. She is safe in her life, until Montag begins to question whether his book burning is right.

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Fahrenheit 451

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