The Martian Chronicles and History

March 18, 2021 by Essay Writer

How can there be a connection between the brutal World War and a fantasy book? The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury is a collection of short stories connected by a common theme and setting. The book takes place in both Planet Earth and Mars. The main plot that continues throughout the story is the exploration and colonization of Mars. The most appropriate lens from which to view The Martian Chronicles is new historicism. New historicism is a literary theory that focuses on the background information of the author and the time period the book is written in and how it affects the story.

The plot of the book is influenced by both the author and the time period. Each story in the book is written at a different time, however, it’s all around the time of WWII. During the war, the United States and USSR were in a space race, where they compete in the advancement of spaceships and exploration of outer space. Since the book is about the colonization of Mars, it could be assumed that the story is heavily influenced by the race. The author’s background also influenced the plot of the story. Bradbury started writing at a young age and has always been interested in fantasy and exploring outer space. At a young age, Bradbury would sneak into the theater and cinemas. Later in his life, he participated in drama and theater as well.

The time period the book is written in also influences the characters in the story. Slavery and racism were still common at that time, and African Americans were suffering in despair, however, they are trying to fight back and find a way out of injustice. In the book, African Americans bonded together and fight back against the white slave owner and moved to Mars in search of freedom and new life. The actions of the owner in the story are also a symbolization of those in the 1900s. He lynches slaves out of pleasure and wishes to keep them around solely for the sake of torturing. However, this is also the time where African American’s started protesting and fighting back. They were able to gain supporters, those who are willing to see them as equals and speak out for them. Like in the story, the slave owner is stopped by a group of the white man when he started chasing after the African Americans.

The structure and writing style of the book is also based on the background of the author. The book is written in a collection of short stories. The cause of this might be the fact that this is Bradbury’s first novel. Bradbury lives in a lower-middle class family and never attended college so as a relatively new and inexperienced author he might have financial difficulties in publishing an entire book. So the stories in The Martian Chronicles were published in magazines before a publisher found Bradbury and gave him the idea of combining them into a novel.

The best way to view The Martian Chronicles is by using new historicism. The plot, character, and structure of the book are all strongly influenced by the background information of the author and time period. The new historicism theory connects the reader and author in a special way that allows the reader to understand the point of view of the author and the events they were going through while writing the book. By knowing the literary theory most appropriate from which to view the story, the reader will be able to have a deeper understanding of the text and understand the references made in the story.

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