by Ray Bradbury
Montag's wife seems to be Montag's antihero to the extreme. She alleges that she is content with her life, although we receive an opposite impression. More accurately, Mildred is satisfied with not thinking. As described by Montag, she spends day after day with a cigarette butt between her fingers, entertaining her friends while both she and they watch the continuous entertainment flashed to them from television. ("I think of her hands but I don't see them doing anything at all. They just hang there at her sides or they lay there on her lap or there's a cigarette in them, but that's all." (156)). We get the impression that under the surface, Mildred is subconsciously dissatisfied with her life. She overdoses on sleeping drugs; Montag asks when she last smiled, she is disinterested in the details of her husband's life; she is childless and, at the end, she sees her own face reflected in the mirror, "and it was such a wildly empty face, all by itself in the room touching nothing, starved and eating of itself" (159).
Civilization seems literally to have brainwashed Mildred, converting her into a zombie to the extent that she betrays her husband and allows her house to be burned (with her precious "family") rather than disobey the directives of the Civilization. She dies, at the last moment seeing her existence reflected in the havoc and wreckage of her demise.Sign up to continue reading Mildred >