HomeLiterature Study GuidesFahrenheit 451Part 1 Montag Talks To Mildred And Clarisse Summary

Fahrenheit 451 | Study Guide

Ray Bradbury

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Part 1 | Montag Talks to Mildred and Clarisse

Course Hero’s video study guide provides in-depth summary and analysis of Part 1 | The Hearth and the Salamander (Montag Talks to Mildred and Clarisse) of Ray Bradbury's novel Fahrenheit 451.

Fahrenheit 451 | Part 1 (Montag Talks to Mildred and Clarisse) : The Hearth and the Salamander | Summary

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Summary

When Montag wakes the next morning, Mildred is already up. She doesn't remember anything from the night before and so does not believe she overdosed. She's excited about the interactive television show that will be broadcast that morning, in which she will have a small part. Three walls of their living room are oversized TV screens. Mildred asks if they can get the fourth wall done so they will be surrounded by TV, but Montag is concerned about the cost, a third of his annual income.

Montag goes for a walk in the rain and runs into Clarisse. She rubs a dandelion under her chin, saying that if it turns yellow, it means she's in love. Her chin turns yellow. When she tries it on Montag, his does not. He insists he's in love anyway. Clarisse is about to go talk to her psychiatrist. The authorities force her to go because she's peculiar: she likes to hike through forests, collect butterflies, and "just sit and think." She asks Montag again about how he became a fireman and tells him, "You are not like the others." Her questions and observations upset him, so he sends her on to her appointment.

Analysis

In this scene Mildred embodies dehumanization. She has recovered from her overdose, but she either doesn't believe her husband when he tells her what happened or prefers to deny it. She is also wearing her Seashell Radio, the continual broadcast shutting out the actual world and further separating her from Montag.

Mildred's eagerness to get a fourth television wall installed, so she'll be completely surrounded by her programs, reveals how technology and censorship are intertwined. While firemen burn books, most people are like Mildred and actively use technology to avoid thinking.

In contrast to Mildred, Clarisse once again knocks Montag off balance. When her dandelion reveals he's not in love, she cuts to the heart of Montag's unhappiness and loneliness. Although her observations disturb him, she helps Montag begin to open up.

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