Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury
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Key Questions and Answers

Summary Key Questions and Answers

2) Why does Mildred overdose on sleeping pills?

Montag hypothesizes that Mildred probably lost track of how many pills she had taken. This theory may seem absurd, since she’s taken not just a few more pills than necessary, but the whole bottle. Yet as the EMTs who pump her stomach and transfuse her blood indicate, this extreme type of accidental overdose happens all the time, and in fact the EMTs must rush off to answer another call as soon as they finish with Mildred. As the reader soon learns, Mildred doesn’t seem to feel much of anything. In order to avoid emotions altogether, Mildred spends every minute of every day either entertaining herself with her televised “family,” listening to her thimble radio, or driving her beetle at top speed to stifle any negative emotions. In other words, Mildred spends all her time numbing herself, and she mistakes her numbness for happiness and contentment. It is this numbness that leads to what is likely an accidental overdose on sleeping pills.