Outer Appearance In Classic Literature Essay

1738 words - 7 pages

It is said that a person’s personality shows in their outer appearance. A large amount of classic literature uses a character’s outer appearance to hint of a character’s inner state or environment. In Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, and William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, a character’s outer appearance is used to reflect their inner personality or turmoil or a their influence in the novel, giving the reader an in depth look into a character’s soul. Fahrenheit 451 uses Clarisse, Mildred, and Faber’s appearance to help reflect their personalities and reinforce their influence in the novel.
Clarisse McClellan is Montag’s teenage neighbor who is meant to represent impeccability. Unlike Montag’s wife, Clarisse questions the ideas of society. She is the spark that ignites a fire in Montag, doubting his dedication to his town. She is meant to be a contrast to Mildred, who ruins her body by ignoring her own health and accepts the ideas of society. Later in the novel, she is said to have been run down by a car and soon after, her family mysteriously disappears.
Clarisse has a certain calm atmosphere about her that Montag can sense while walking at night. She is described as milk-white and silent (Page 5). She has a gentle hunger and curiosity that makes Montag uncomfortable. White is seen as a pure and innocent color. Bradbury dresses her in white to emphasize that she is innocent and child-like. She is killed at the end in a “game” that teenage kids play where they hit any pedestrian (Page 60). This brutal death signifies how corrupt society is to kill an innocent girl. Clarisse’s name in Latin means “clear” and helps signify her as a guiding light to Montag and his search for knowledge.
Mildred Montag, or “Millie”, is Montag’s wife of ten years. She is completely absorbed in her society and constantly distracts herself with parlor walls and seashell radios to escape reality. We are hinted in the book that she is depressed and buried all troubles deep inside her. We know this from her suicide attempt at the beginning of the book. Mildred is very cold and distant towards Montag, even more so when he becomes interested in books and learning. Since she is his wife, her betrayal is much worse than Beatty’s. Mildred is no longer a person, but a shell of a woman with no purpose in life.
Mildred is described by Montag as being “corpse-like” and thin from dieting. Mildred is influenced greatly by society and her chemical-fried hair reinforces the want of acceptance in society. Millie isn’t worried about her health, but she worries of appearances and staying in the know. Mrs. Montag is described as “white bacon” and has cataracts that are unseen right now but are forming. The unseen cataracts are emphasizing her age and her figurative blindness. Her age is to show that she is not wise like most older people. She is blind to the real world and stays entertained and distracted and never truly lets anything really...

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