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The Martian Chronicles Essay, Research Paper

The Martian Chronicles

The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury, is a science-fiction book and was written in 1946. This major work by Bradbury is a collection of short stories relating to Mars or Martians. Bradbury had a clear vision of the Mars in which these stories are set. His vision was one of a fantasy world from the Martians point of view. In this work, the humans from Earth are the aliens from outer space. Bradbury has won many awards including the O. Henry Memorial Award, the Benjamin Franklin Award, the Aviation-Space Writers Association Award, the World Fantasy Award for lifetime achievement, and the Grand Master Award from the Science Fiction Writers of America. Bradbury supported his awards with The Martian Chronicles, keeping with the theme of giving his readers something to enjoy. His thoroughness in his writing keeps the reader wanting more.

The Martian Chronicles is a collection of 19 short stories about Mars and the Martians. He opens the book with a very short story, Rocket Summer . Rocket Summer is a great exaggeration of how hot it becomes within a few miles radius of a rocket launch. Around this certain rocket, it was winter. As soon as the rocket s booster ignited, all of the snow within the vicinity melted. The snow dissolved and showed last summer s ancient green lawns. . Bradbury knew when he wrote this that a weather change that dramatic would never happen from a single rocket, it was simply to grab the attention of the reader.

In The Third Expedition , the sixth short-story in The Martian Chronicles, Bradbury uses his description of America on Mars to give a setting and tone for the story. He suggested that by 1950, America had already started to vanish. By the time any astronaut reached Mars, the America the astronaut knew would be greatly different than that of America in 1950. Bradbury was setting Mars equal to small-town life on Earth. The rocket landed on a lawn of green grass. Outside, upon this lawn, stood an iron deer. Further up on the green stood a tall brown Victorian house, quiet in the sunlight, all covered with scrolls and rococo, its windows made of blue and pink and yellow and green colored glass. If just this quote had been read, one would have thought that the rocket landed on Earth. Bradbury, using his wonderful imagination, knew this and wanted the reader to understand his point of view. Through his description of the setting, the astronauts from the rocket, came to believe that they had gone back in time.

In his ninth story, The Locusts , Ray Bradbury uses similies to envoke a response from the reader. He makes the many rockets that are landing on Mars to be just like locusts, swarming over a concentrated area and destroying it. And from the rockets ran men with hammers in their hands to beat the strange world into a shape that was familiar to the eye, to bludgeon away all the strangeness, their mouths fringed with nails so they resembled steel-toothed carnivores, spitting them into their swift hands as they hammered up frame cottages and scuttled over roofs with shingles to blot out the eerie stars, and fit green shades to pull against the night. The reader sees from the similies that the rockets were overwhelming to the Martians and they were only pests, they did not help.

Another theme Bradbury uses to gain the reader s attention is time travel. In his tenth story in The Martian Chronicles, Night Meeting , Bradbury uses time travel to convey more of his ideas of Mars. There was a smell of Time in the air tonight. He smiled and turned the fancy in his mind. There was a thought. What did Time smell like? Like dust and clocks and people? Bradbury uses all of man s senses to express his feelings of what exactly Time is. By doing so, the reader has a clearer understanding of Bradbury s point of view. He drove the truck between the hills of Time. His neck prickled and he sat up, watching ahead. Bradbury indicates through this quote that every place has more than one location, each at a different time in it s history. Doing this makes Bradbury s genre clear, science-fiction.

Also in Night Meeting , Bradbury writes about his views of Martian intelligence. And then the Martian laughed. Wait! Tomas felt his head touched, but no hand had touched him. There! said the Martian in English. That is better! . Through this passage we learn of Bradbury s very creative imagination. He knows what the reader wants to read and presents it to them in his own way. Bradbury had thought of this way of alien education well before the modern version of the same exact thing. Shown to many in a recent movie, The Matrix, where a plug is inserted to the back of the head and any bit of information can be downloaded into the brain. Bradbury was way before his times, but to his advantage, with the image of alien education.

Ray Bradbury s literary technique in The Martian Chronicles contains many elements. First, Bradbury s uses his style of writing to capture the readers imagination. His sense of what the reader wants and his translation of his thoughts into words on paper are very manipulative to the reader in that the reader always wants more. Secondly, Bradury uses similies throughout the work. As shown in the example from The Locusts , Bradbury uses similies to the full effect to entice the reader. He also exaggerates to make things seem bigger, better and more powerful than they actually are. Finally, Bradbury uses symbolism. The names of some of the rockets in the book have references to a variety of events throughout history. For example, Over Jordan was a rocket that had to do with biblical times. Also, he implied in one story, The Shore , that only Americans could afford the rockets to reach Mars. This may have shown his bias towards Americans. Bradbury used his style, writing techniques, and symbolism to make The Martian Chronicles a great work.

The Martian Chronicles should be on anyone s should read list. It is a great example of science-fiction from the 1950 s. Although people today may want a newer and fresher look at aliens and outer space, Bradbury provides a wonderful compilation of stories that could have been passed off as recently written. His ideas were so new to anyone at the time that we, in the year 2000, look at them as marvelous ideas that we can agree with, in theory, today. The Martian Chronicles meets the criteria of a great literary work because it has all of the characteristics of being one. First, there is a well organized and thought out plot to the story. Even though there are a number of short stories, they can all be read together as one collection on the same subject. Secondly, if you were to take out one of the stories to read by itself, one would never know it came from a book of stories. That is something that many authors have a hard time doing. Finally, Bradbury has built a reputation to be a great writer. This work does not let down on his reputation. Truly, anyone that is the least bit interested in science-fiction should really give this compilation a read. This book should really be on everyone s should read list.


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