Fahrenheit 451 Mildred Montag Essay
Mildred Montag is one of the weak characters who does not influence story development but adds emotional and psychological tension. Mildred Montag can be described as a shadow of Guy Mintag. Mildred Montag permissiveness leads to disastrous consequences: inability to understand her husband and develop romantic and love relations inside the family. The earlier promises of love are ostensibly realized, except that it turns out that individuals can profit from this new permissiveness only at the expense of other individuals. Thesis The character of Mildred Montag helps Bradbury to oppose the reality of the novel and creates a unique feeling of solitude and aimlessness of human life.
Mildred Montag represents loneliness and pointlessness of human existence. Her attempt to commit suicide is a symbol of false dreams and inability of the main character to see the truth about her life. Fahrenheit 451 suggests the wholesome use of a living tradition to the artist. Bradbury underlines: “fanatics always try suicide” (39). Bradbury’s use of the suicide for shock value is gross and deliberate, but the part plays in shaping his moral vision is more impressive because it is unselfconscious. Bradbery criticizes Mildred ;s obsession with TV: “the TV serial are not meant to represent any actual painters, …” (57). In the character of Mildred Montag, Fahrenheit 451 moves almost imperceptibly into mythic meaning. The character of Mildred Montag is unveiled through the symbol of suicide she tries to commit. In contrast to Mildred, her husband is portrayed as “firemen provide a circus now and then at which buildings are set off and crowds gather for the pretty blaze.” (Bradbury 94).
The author highlights the absence of flexibility, the lack of fluidity in Mildred’s dreams which can be shattered by the intrusion of reality. Mildred is described as “humming” (47). The most dramatic scene between the representative of reality and that of imagination, between normalcy and difference, occurs when Mildred finds herself alone. Bradbury underlines that: “Mildred had not swum that sea” (12). Mildred herself is ridicules, in the eyes of other people and of the generation which she represents; but Bradbury’s concept of a very different way of life in his native enables him to transmute the silly woman and her dreams into something which is noble and true. In its larger meaning, Mildred’s tragedy becomes a parable of the inadequacy of modem life. Bradbury describes her: “Her hair burnt by chemicals to a brittle straw, her eyes with a kind of cataract unseen but suspect far behind the pupils, the reddened pouting lips, the body as thin as a praying mantis from dieting.” (Bradbury 48).
The very sense of “forcing” in the style makes us question the integrity of the speaker, alerting us to ambivalences in his attitude: his wish to justify himself as well as to grieve, his surrender to emotion but at the same time his ironic, self-defensive distancing from it. And this sense of ambivalence, of wishing to withdraw and deny at the same time as to relive and accept, is particularly important for the much maligned projection device. Mildred has “insane anger which showed itself in veins” (25), If readers take into account, furthermore, the fact that her husband bids Mildred put out her own candles, surely what we are faced with at the end is not only a regretful, tender and pathetic mood, but also a ruthless reenactment of original violation of his wife’s trust. Mildred’s escape from the dreary present is different from other characters. The mood is set by the firemen playing cards” radio hummed somewhere. … war may be declared any hour. This country stands ready to defend its” (Bradbury 38). They try to escape reality, but she in her own way is coming to grips with it, by trying to make a breadwinner out of Guy and by securing Mildred’s future.
In sum, the character of Mildred helps Bradbury to create a unique amuser in the novel and unveil loneliness and isolation experienced by the woman. Mildred symbolizes loneliness, isolation and inability of a person to fight for survival and love. She is inactive and passive individual who “goes with the flow” unable to recognize true feelings and happiness in her life and in her marriage union.
Bradbury Ray. Fahrenheit 451. HarperVoyager; 50th Anniversary edition edition, 2004.