The Dangers of Ideals in The Martian Chronicles and The Doll’s House
The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury and The Doll’s House by Katherine Mansfield both demonstrate how people always desire what they don’t have and the dangerous outcomes that can ensue because of these visions. The Martian Chronicles shows the temptations and the outcomes of past relationships and memories while The Doll’s House demonstrates the segregation between two social classes and the allurement of having something you don’t. Both of these stories show the idealized visions that people have and the dangers to these fantasies. Such visions lead to corruption because they reveal the desire for something that one doesn’t have and the emotions that they can bring out.
In The Martian Chronicles, one of the stories reveals the temptations of an idealized vision. When the ship crew members see their old family and friends they break their ranks, “They abandoned the ship, they did” (55 Bradbury). Over time, these temptations become hazardous. In the case of The Martian Chronicles, it is dangerous in the sense that those “relatives and friends” are not who they appear to be and lead the expedition members into a false sense of security which causes “the unexpected and sudden deaths of sixteen fine men during the night — ” (62). In a more practical situation, the idea of someone who has passed away or someone that the person has not seen in a long time, can be a very nice thought until it becomes an obsession. Scenarios similar to bringing back deceased loved ones is a commonly occurring theme throughout literature, which holds so much power over us because of the emotions that they can bring out whether those are good or bad.
Katherine Mansfield demonstrates the segregation between the rich and the poor in The Doll’s House through the Burnell children’s idealized version of a home. Discrimination against Kelveys, the lower class, is shown when only the wealthier children are allowed to see this vision of a perfect home. When the Kelveys are finally invited by Kezia to see it, the Burnell’s aunt becomes infuriated, she yells to the Kelveys, “‘Run away, children, run away at once. And don’t come back again!’” (60 Mansfield). The rich are able to get close to this idealized house, while the poor are sent away, even when looking in from the outside. After the Kelveys get chased away by the Burnell’s Aunt, Elsa turned to her sister and whispered, “‘I’ve seen the little lamp’” (67). While the lamp represents kindness and acceptance, it also demonstrates the want of rich living. Throughout the story, the children always spoke about the lamp within the dollhouse and how realistic and appealing it was. The lamp shows the luxuries that wealth brings because it shows the small benefits that people of wealth can afford. Although Elsa is happy with her low class lifestyle, having seen what a life of wealth possesses, she will become obsessed with the potential splendor that wealth could bring and lose sight of what truly matters. Seeking a life full of riches can become dangerous as people lose sight of what is important and start to discriminate against one another, forming a segregated community.
Both of these stories demonstrate how idealized visions can corrupt a community by the power they have over us due to wants that one may have and past emotions they can bring back. The Martian Chronicles shows the longing for past friends and family and the effects that it has on people. The Doll’s House displays the segregation between multiple social classes and the longing for what you don’t have. Although it is a standard to have ideals, it can become dangerous if you let it change your morals.
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