In "Fahrenheit 451" why will Mildred run to turn the t.v. off for Beatty, but not for Montag?

Expert Answers
mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The morning after Montag burns Mrs. Blake's house down, he is feeling ill and sick at heart over what had happened.  It is finally all hitting him-the awful nature of his work.  He is upset, and Mildred is the only one around to talk to.  He asks her to "turn it off for a sick man," meaning her t.v. walls, so that they can talk.  Bradbury writes next that she says sure but "went out of the room but did nothing to the parlor and came back."  She probably didn't turn it if for several possible reasons.  One is that she forgot, two is that she didn't realize how much it was really bothering Montag, three is that she never really listens to him anyway-hence their distance and faltering relationship.  Or, she could be showing a lack of respect for him; he has been acting strange lately, and she just wants things to be back to normal.  She states, "That's my favorite program," which shows that she cares more about her t.v. shows, her t.v. "family" than for him.

When Beatty shows up and asks her to turn the t.v. off, "this time, Mildred ran."  This is probably because Beatty is a guest, he's Montag's boss, and he has an authoritative and stern air.  He doesn't ask, he demands:  "Shut the 'relatives' up".  She is a bit frightened of him; when she realizes he is coming "she ran a few steps this way, a few steps that, and stopped, eyes wide."  This is a description that reveals her fear for him, so it is no wonder that she ran to obey.

Read the study guide:
Fahrenheit 451

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question