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Books

Analysis Of The Human Condition In Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles And David Bowie’s Five Years

June 23, 2022 by Essay Writer

The human condition is examined in the works of the book, “The Martian Chronicles,” by Ray Bradbury, the David Bowie song, “Five Years,” and my own personal experience. The human condition is our human existence of birth, mortality, key events that we experience, events in our lives, and conflicts that we face. The human condition of our existence is natural like our emotions and how we live our lives, how we communicate and how we relate to others.

The Martian Chronicles was written in 1950. It is written as a version of short stories about futuristic travel to mars from earth. People from earth want to live on mars to avoid the devastation of war that we created and the conflicts we fact with the Martians on Mars. The human condition is revealed in each short story of The Martian Chronicles. Earth was at war and humans waited for an opportunity to leave earth to live on Mars. The Martians did not want the humans on Mars. In the first three expeditions the Martians succeed when the humans arrive by getting rid of them. When the fourth expedition of humans arrive on Mars, they find Mars deserted. It is believed that the Martians all die of chickenpox that the previous expeditions brought with them. There are only a few Martians left hiding in the hills. As war on Earth continues, most of the settlers go back to Earth to help with the war. There is a nuclear war on Earth and that breaks the contact between Earth and Mars. With a few humans left on Mars, that starts life all over again. Humans left Earth to live on Mars to live exactly as they were before. Humans keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again.

Humans are all born with the same human needs like food, air, water, sleep, being ill, pain, love and emotions. It is human nature to think, feel, and act. However, we are all brought up with different morals, values, religions, cultures, and science and technology. As humans continue to advance, we try to make life easier, however, we tend to complicate it more. Our needs and wants grow. The Martians lived a tranquil life until we arrived on Mars. The Martian Chronicles shows how humans were ruining their life on earth by greed and war and how we would do the same thing on Mars. Spender says in the book “But one day, Earth will be as Mars is today. This will sober us. It’s an object lesson in civilizations. This shows one of the weaknesses of the human condition. We will keep repeating life as we live on Earth and we haven’t learned any lessons.

In the book Spender says that in the past we were at peace. But, due to the advancement of the human race and technology, we continued to move forward to a place where peace does not exist all of the time. ‘Because I’ve seen that what these Martians had was just as good as anything we’ll ever hope to have. They stopped where we should have stopped a hundred years ago.’ This is a strength and a weakness of the human condition. Technology and advancement has helped to save lives, live longer, and stay healthier. However, some of the advancement and technology has hurt us. We have wars, there are guns, disagreements, climate change, and polluted streams and oceans.

Humans have learned to be greedy and we want instant gratification. Captains Williams says, “We’d like someone to give us the key to the city or something like that, and we’d like somebody to shake our hands and say ‘Hooray’ and say ‘Congratulations, old man!”. This is a weakness of the human condition. Why should we always have to be congratulated for everything that we do.

The Martian Chronicles was written in 1950. The short stories in the book take place from 1999 to about 2057. The stories themselves are reminiscent of the 1920’s. Bradbury shows how everyone conforms to the way society lives. We all live in the neighborhoods, houses, rooms in the houses, have cars, go to school, and we follow rules. Humans brought the same rules with them to Mars. In the third expedition, the same kinds of towns are set up as they are on earth. Green Bluff, Illinois, is set up to look exactly the same. The story fits into the era that they were created because of the description of the towns and communities and people that are described yet the stories take place in the future. One of the last stories in the book, There Will Come Soft Rains, focuses on the future. Humans have evolved so they don’t even have to think or communicate with each other. It takes place in Allendale, California on Earth in a house in August, 2057. The house runs on it’s own. The house is programmed to do everything for the family. The family just listens to directions and conforms to what the orders are. Breakfast is made, reminders are announced, it tells the owners they need raincoats, dishes are done, and dinner is made. However, the family is gone and no one lives there. The day to day life is programmed. The human condition has evolved. At the end of the story, the house is destroyed by fire from the ware. In the end, humans destroyed their own habitat. They were born, they lived, they died. The part that was programmed in their lives contributed to their death. There is a poem in the story of There Will Come Soft Rains, by Sara Teasdale.“There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground, And swallows circling with their shimmering sound; And frogs in the pools singing at night, And wild plum trees in tremulous white; Robins will wear their feathery fire, Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire; And not one will know of the war, not one Will care at last when it is done. Note one would mind, neither bird nor tree, If mankind perished utterly; And Sring herself, when she woke at dawn Would scarcely know that we were gone.” Nature continues to live and the humans’ die possibly to start all over again.

Ray Bradbury examines the human condition in The Martian Chronicles. He shows how humans on Mars replicate what they knew on Earth. They don’t change how they live. They live and go through life events, but they never consider living a different life. Humans are programed to live a certain way and that does not change even on another planet. We experience events, however, we are not always learning from those events. These routines make us comfortable as the human condition.

David Bowie was an english singer-songwriter and actor. He was born in Brixton, South London. He had a daughter named Alexandria Zahra Jones and a son named Duncan Jones. David showed interest in music since he was 13 years old when he started playing the saxophone. He attended school at Bromley technical high school where he was further introduced to music. After high school, David had been working on his music. He signed to Mercury Records where he discovered his first hit song “Space Oddity”. After this song was released it became popular and David made a name for himself.

David Bowie’s music resembles the human condition. In the song “Five Years” David Bowie sings about the world ending in five years due to the lack of natural resources. The human condition is how the people are experiencing life and how they will deal with the end of the world in 5 years. He sings “I heard telephones, opera house, favorite melodies,I saw boys, toys, electric irons and T.V., My brain hurt like a warehouse, it had no room to spare, I had to cram so many things to store everything in there, And all the fat-skinny people, and all the tall-short people, And all the nobody people, and all the somebody people,I never thought I’d need so many people”. There are the material things that we need to live with, irons, telephones, toys, etc. He is looking at things that he did not notice in life before. “I think I saw you in an ice-cream parlor, Drinking milkshakes cold and long, Smiling and waving and looking so fine, Don’t think you knew you were in this song” . This is the part of the human condition that David Bowie wants. The tranquil time when everyone is happy and living their everyday routine lives. He wants the basic human condition of his birth mother to feel safe with his mom. This song portrays the circle of life and how we live life and how we will get through it.

When I played soccer in high school or for the club team, I experienced many events in my life that have been positive. While playing, it built friendships, to work as a team, hard work, discipline, and commitment. It is fun and I enjoy playing and exercising. You respect the coaches, I played across the country, and learned that it was OK to win or lose. I always wanted everyone to be proud of what I did. That is part of the human condition. I liked the everyday routine of practice and games. The routine of players talking about the same thing. The sport is competitive and sometimes parents would get involved if their child did not have enough playing time or if they did not agree with the referee or the coach. They did not wait to speak to the coach. They went right over and spoke up right away after a game. This did not help the player, the coach or the parent. They never learned that this is not the correct way to communicate. The negative human condition is the anger and frustration the parents have. This happens all of the time when kids are playing a sport and parents get involved. It is the human condition for parents to want the best for their child, however, sometimes they go to far.

Part of the question of human condition is why is there good and evil. “There is genocide, terrorism, mass displacement of peoples, starvation, runaway diseases, environmental devastation, gross inequality, ‘racial’ and gender oppression, polarised politics, rampant corruption and other crimes, drug abuse, family breakdown, and epidemic levels of obesity, chronic anxiety, depression, unhappiness and loneliness — all of which are being rapidly exacerbated by the exploding world population and exponential rise everywhere in anger, egocentricity and alienation. Improved laws, governments, policy, and discipline have not helped. Is the world failing in the human condition? The more we advance and evolve, the harder the human condition is getting. Some feel that part of the human condition is feeling the fear, anxiety, and unhappiness.

The human condition is all around us. It is how each of us live each day. We are born, we experience events in our lives, and we die. The events we experience are influenced by culture, science, and evolvement of the human race. As individuals we learn lessons from those experiences and sometimes we do not. The human condition is also about love and living in tranquility. In the Martian Chronicles, the Martians were living in a tranquil life and then the humans from earth arrived. The first story, Ylla, Mr. and Mrs. K live a normal, ordinary life. They lived that life by the dead sea for twenty years and their ancestors had lived in the same house for centuries. It was hard for them to leave that tranquility and they did not want to accept it. Life on Earth for humans was always evolving and changing. It was not tranquil. The humans brought to Mars their everyday routine and what they were used to. The humans were looking for that tranquil life but because of their evolovement they had a hard time achieving it. David Bowie’s song shows how people reacted when they knew the world was going to end in 5 years. They wanted their everyday comforts, they noticed more, they wanted love and tranquility. Playing soccer is something that I look forward to. The everyday practice and the everyday expectations is part of the human condition that make it tranquil. It is the everyday events of our lives that make up the human condition. 

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