Montag's Wife As A Foil In Fahrenheit 451

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Happiness plays an important and necessary role in the lives of people around the world. In America, happiness has been engrained in our national consciousness since Thomas Jefferson penned these famous words in the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” (Jefferson). Since then, Americans have been engaged in that act: pursuing happiness. The problem however, as Ray Bradbury demonstrates in his novel Fahrenheit 451, is that those things which make us happy initially may eventually lead to our downfall. By examining Guy Montag, the protagonist …show more content…

A foil is a character who contrasts with another character, usually in order to highlight certain characteristics or attributes the characters have (Literary Terms). Mildred loves her TV programs, rather, she is obsessed with them. Montag tells us that “no matter when he came in, the walls were always talking to Mildred” (Bradbury 44). At one point Montag asks her what one of her shows is about. She responds, “I told you. There are these people named Bob and Ruth and Helen” (20).This gives the reader a clue that these programs are meaningless and mind-numbing, meant to distract the viewers into a submission of sorts. The TV programs have been partly responsible for destroying Montag’s marriage. Montag thinks that “there is a wall between him and Mildred, when you came down to it… Literally not just one wall but, so far, three!” (44). Aside from that, Mildred never experiences nature unless it is through her wall-TV (45). We even get the impression that Mildred is physically suffering from her hours of indoor TV-watching. Montag describes her body as “displayed on the lid of a tomb” (12). Is Bradbury arguing here for a reorientation towards nature? Perhaps yes, perhaps no, but Mildred could certainly benefit from some outdoors …show more content…

This realization happens for Montag very early, when he realizes that he is not happy (Bradbury 12). The second step is referred to as ‘The Right Intention.’ This is described as a commitment to mental and ethical self-improvement. Montag enters this step when he makes the decision to actually read the books that he had always burned. This commitment shows that he is willing to put the work into gaining the knowledge contained in the books (68). The third step in the path is ‘The Right Speech.’ This involves using speech appropriate to the knowledge the person has gained. Montag fulfills this in quite a few ways. One example is when he is trying to convince Mildred of the usefulness of reading books, he says, “Is it true that the world works hard and we play? Is that why we’re hated so much? Do you know why? I don’t, that’s sure! Maybe the books can get us half out of the cave. They might just stop us from making the same mistakes” (74). The fourth step is ‘The Right Action.’ This involves the person not only speaking according to their knowledge, but also acting according to it. One way Montag does this is by phoning Professor Faber and then visits him. Montag acts correctly according to his knowledge because he finally discovers that books are valuable, and chooses to partner with Faber to combat the destruction of books (80-91). The fifth step

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