The three walls took over the lives of many people, not only Mildred. She would sit by the huge tv screens practically 24/7, and considered them her "family". I believe she was even closer to them than her husband, Montag. Her friends were just as obsessed with the electrical walls. They would scheadule little get-togethers so they can watch a program together and then discuss it. The three walls were kind of like sun glasses that would make important topics ,such as wars and relationships, dim in the real light.
Mildred and her love of television is a way for her to avoid confronting her life. She refuses to admit her suicide attempt because she doesnt want to admit to anyone that her life is less than ideal. I think Mildred is one of the more fascinating characters in this novel because of the fact that she is so distant and unreadable. You never know what she will do next. Bradbury manages to portray her character as someone who is a living person but really isnt living life. The only emotion that Mildred is shown to have in the novel is her attachment to the "family" whom she is devoted to.
In some ways Mildred represents escapism, denial, and a need to be entertained. All very immature and fear-driven approaches to life. The challenge is to honestly ask ourselves . . . are we more like Clarisse or Mildred?
I don't see Clarisse as an escapist at all. Her world is real. Real nature. Real people. Real relationships. Real thoughts. In contrast, Mildred lived in a pseudo-world of tranquilizors and fake family and passive "entertainment".
What I enjoyed most about the television walls and the shows they contained is they were interactive. For those of you who have not seen the movie, there is one scene when the actor delivers a speech containing a conundrum, and he turns to the viewer and says "And what do you think?" allowing for the viewer's input.
And to think that Ray thought of flat screen TV long before it became a reality.
[This message has been edited by biplane1 (edited 08-31-2004).]
Posts: 294 | Location: Sunrise, FL, USA | Registered: 28 June 2004
Unfortunately, I'm sure that would go over really big today; after all, many (most?) Americans know more about characters on television than they do about their neighbors. In fact, it may have been from Ray Bradbury that I learned that, around 1960, standard plans for 'tract' homes were changed to no longer include a front porch; as, with everyone inside watching the telly, porches became superfluous. (Think about how many of Mr. B's stories include scenes which take place on or near front porches! I still use mine!)
Posts: 901 | Location: Box in Braling I's cellar | Registered: 02 July 2004
A few years ago, I had a front porch put onto our house! Of course, what was there was a barren patch of dirt that grew nothing because no sun reached that area until late afternoon and precipitation would never hit the area. I love sitting on my porch, esp since I can't use my patio, due to a pool being set up on it!
Posts: 213 | Location: New Berlin, WI, USA | Registered: 21 June 2004
Nikki89 made some good points, especially the comparison of sunglasses to the tv dimming out certain subjects. Mildred obviously used t.v. as an escape from the outside world and community. She manages to conceal her less than perfect life until her denied suicide attempt. The way she describes her "family" as the t.v., and not her own, sends a message that she may doubt herself in front of others, but with the t.v. can be herself, someone who is so distant from what others "expect" her to be. Other times throughout the novel she portrays a charachter who yearns to have attention, and when she is unsuccessful, she returuns to the t.v. who will give her what she needs. Her "obssesion" is not primarily her fault, but also the people around her who are so naive to notice.
The three walls can be seen as both a metaphor and a symbolism of what is to become (in Ray�s time of writing) in our world. The three walls is a metaphor for the awareness of people of the future. They are practically blind to war and disasters. Society put �walls� around the people so they wouldn�t know about the war. The only way they could be aware is to stop paying attention to the screen and turning around to the only side with no wall. It can also be seen as symbolism because now, in our time, people are �hypnotized� to the television and video games are becoming more interactive. These make people believe that it is real and/or imitate what they see, yet another problem that Ray predicted. Either way you take it, or both ways, they show how well Ray makes connections to two different things.
It was real to her, and maybe, say, 4 people like her within the actual city. The vast majority of people did not think it was real. Hence, since society defines what it means to be escapist or not, her world was escapist by their standards, hence her world was not real, hence I stand by my word. Cheers, Translator