Fahrenheit 451

Descirbe the confrontation between Montag and the ladies who come to visit Mildred.

Part 2

Asked by
Last updated by jill d #170087
Answers 2
Add Yours

It's pretty nasty. Basically Montag challenges them to get a grip on reality. He reminds them that their lives are vacuous and superficial. He reminds them that their minds are perverted by the wall screens and they can not grasp any real emotion.

Montag withdraws money from his account to give to Faber and listens to reports over the radio that the country is mobilizing for war. Faber reads to him from the Book of Job over the two-way radio in his ear. He goes home, and two of Mildred’s friends, Mrs. Phelps and Mrs. Bowles, arrive and promptly disappear into the TV parlor. Montag turns off the TV walls and tries to engage the three women in conversation. They reluctantly oblige him, but he becomes angry when they describe how they voted in the last presidential election, based solely on the physical appearance and other superficial qualities of the candidates. Their detached and cynical references to their families and the impending war angers him further. He brings out a book of poetry and shows it to them, despite their objections and Faber’s (delivered via his ear radio). Mildred quickly concocts a lie, explaining that a fireman is allowed to bring home one book a year to show to his family and prove what nonsense books are. Faber orders Montag to take the escape route Mildred has provided by agreeing with her.

Refusing to be deterred, Montag reads the women “Dover Beach” by Matthew Arnold. Mrs. Phelps, who has just told everyone quite casually about her husband’s departure for the oncoming war, bursts into tears, and Mrs. Bowles declares the cause to be the evil, emotional messiness of poetry. She denounces Montag for reading it. Montag drops the book into the incinerator at Faber’s prompting. He yells at Mrs. Bowles to go home and think about her empty life, and both women leave. Mildred disappears into the bedroom. Montag discovers that she has been burning the books one by one, and he rehides them in the backyard. Montag feels guilty for upsetting Mildred’s friends and wonders if they are right in focusing only on pleasure. Faber tells him that he would agree if there were no war and all was right with the world, but that those realities call for attention.