The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury: Overview
Ray Bradburys the Martian Chronicles is a futuristic story about space travel, invasion and planet colonization. Analyzing characters in this twenty-eight-chapter novel is extremely difficult because every chapter includes different characters, which are oriented to form the plot. Each chapters characters are used to show the founding of the planet Mars, the colonization of it, the destruction of Earth and almost the whole human race, and finally the rebuilding of the human civilization on Mars. The story starts off in the year of 1999 and ends twenty-seven years later in 2026. Ray Bradbury doesnt just tell his story from the point of view of the space travelers and the colonizers, but from angry Martians who were trying to kill the humans or Martians later on who were just having a conversation with a human about Mars, also people seeing the great colonial change happen.
Captain Wilder was the captain of the fourth expedition to Mars from Earth. The three expeditions before had failed because either the Martians tricked and killed the earthlings or the earth people were thought of as mentally ill and sent to a hospital on Mars. Later on in the story when there are towns on Mars, the very few Martians are not discriminated against because the people on Mars were kind people who were in search of new things and seeing Martians was rare. Luckily the minor human sickness, chicken pox, had killed off most of the Martians accidentally. Captain Wilder and his crew explored the planet and responded to Earth to say that the missions were successful, and with only a few complications. Captain Wilder with his Crew of Jeff Spender, Hathaway, Sam Parkhill, Cheroke, Gibbs and a few other men help begin to portray the theme of the story, by finding Mars and seeing that it was safe (this was in the beginning of the story, but in the last several chapters they are brought back as veterans of Mars when it is deserted). The theme is that humans are not a great race of colonizers, but they are really just destructive. All that was left for Earth to do was send the settlers to colonize Mars.
Jeff Spender was a very quiet fellow; the crew called him, the Lonely One. When Jeff reached Mars, he was outraged on how humans had killed this Martian race by a measly child irritation to some children. He left the group and learned as much as he could about their language and culture. Eventually Jeff became angry with humans because he knew what they would do to what was left of the alien culture when they colonize Mars. He said that unlike humans this race did not ask why we are here, they just enjoyed and basked in the rays of life. The Martian culture was magnificent and Jeff did not want it to be destroyed. Therefore his goal was not to let anyone colonize Mars. Jeff went back to Wilders camp and shot Gibbs whom he greatly disliked because of his immature enmity towards the Martian culture. He then shot four more men who were eating lunch peacefully. Captain Wilder was a very serious and staid figure and also a good friend of Jeff Spender. Jeff thought that Wilder would understand his reasoning, but he was wrong. Wilder did not like that Jeff had killed his buddies and coworkers. Eventually after a long chase through the thin air of Mars, Wilder talked it over with Spender, but obviously they did not agree over this matter. This external conflict was solved and finished when Jeff was finally shot before he could stop the colonization of Mars by killing all space travelers. Captain Wilders expedition was successful.
After this mission was complete, Captain Wilder was sent with his crew to Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune for exploring. I heard they had kicked you upstairs so you wouldnt interfere with colonial policy here on Mars, exclaimed Mr. Hathaway in 2026 after meeting up again with Captain Wilder. Captain Wilder had not changed since that fourth expedition to Mars; he was still the same serious and adventurous character, except a little older of course.
Captain Wilder and his crew, Mr. Hathaway and his family, two other people left who did not go back to Earth and another family were the only people left on Mars. They were in charge of rebuilding the human race on Mars because the Earth was being destroyed in a twenty-year world war. Human civilization was starting all over again.
This book is not just like the popular science fiction theme of planet colonization, but it is told in a new-fashioned way, through the eyes of many different people. The story was very enjoyable to read because of its differentness. I admire the way Ray Bradbury very creatively tied each chapter with different characters together. The only thing I would change would be to add a larger connection between the fourth expedition characters in the beginning of the book to those in the end when they are rebuilding the human race. Otherwise this book is an innovative piece of art and I recommend it to anyone seeking a different type of science fiction book to read.
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