Character Analysis Mildred Montag


Montag's wife whom he courted in Chicago and married when they both were twenty, Mildred characterizes shallowness and mediocrity. Her abnormally white flesh and chemically burnt hair epitomize a society that demands an artificial beauty in women through diets and hair dye. Completely immersed in an electronic world and growing more incompatible with Montag with every electronic gadget that enters her house, she fills her waking hours with manic drives in the beetle and by watching a TV clown, who distracts her from her real feelings and leads her nearly to suicide from a drug overdose. Unwilling and unable to analyze rationally, she lives the shallow life that Beatty touts — acquiescence to a technological chamber of horrors. She distances herself from real emotion by identifying with "the family," a three-dimensional fiction in which she plays a scripted part. Her longing for a fourth wall of television suggests her capability of submerging in fantasy to withdraw from the roles of wife, mother, and whole human being.

Addicted to the labor-saving machines that toast and butter her bread and fill her mind with simplistic entertainment, she forgets to bring aspirin to her ailing husband and recedes into monosyllabic communication. Her replies to him are impersonal and callous, as illustrated by her bland announcement of Clarisse's death. To remove any doubts about her materialistic, robotic lifestyle, Mildred surrounds herself with friends like Clara Phelps and Ann Bowles, vapid and witless dullards who select a presidential candidate by his televised good looks. Unsurprisingly, Mildred betrays her husband and flees their marriage while mourning the loss of her TV family. Her white-powdered face, her colorless lips, and her stiff body foreshadow the corpse she soon becomes. The oppression and militarism that she so willingly accepts expectedly turns on her and exterminates her in a single apocalyptic blast.