How do Mildred's friends act towards montags teaching's
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Montag's disdain for Millie's friends is a microcosm of his disdain for all of society. The women's selfishness, revealed through their nonchalance about the upcoming war in which their husbands will fight, and through their disregard for children, is in keeping with the prevalent attitudes of a society where maintaining one's own illusion of happiness is the only priority. This 'happiness' is advertised through the 'Cheshire Cat' smiles the women wear. The reader is cognizant that personal happiness in this society is only an illusion, reminded of Montag's realization that his own "burnt-in" smile no longer contorts his face. Montag discovers that he is not truly happy, but his wife and her friends are unable to see the truth.
The poem that Montag chooses to read to his guests, "Dover Beach", presents themes found throughout the book, including loss of faith, the need to care and be cared for, the destruction of war, and the desire for happy illusions to be true. In addition, a "beach" conveys images of sand and water, two symbols also alluded to throughout the novel.
When Montag is finished reading, Mrs. Phelps is crying, though she cannot explain why, and Mrs. Bowles is angry with Montag for bringing about trouble. Mildred tries to calm the group, but the women are quite shaken and leave.