The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury Essays

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During the period after the Industrial Revolution the rich Western nations of the world began their imperialist expansion, racing to colonize any “unclaimed” territories. All of the colonized regions had their own culture and government, but because the West was so much stronger, they were taken over. When these areas were finally freed from years of oppression, their society was left in shambles and much of their culture was destroyed. Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles explores this theme of imperial expansion as applied to the hypothetical situation of humans colonizing the planet Mars. In the novel, the humans who flock to the planet are portrayed as reckless beings with no care for their new home. They destroy ruins, clear the…show more content…
Biggs is portrayed as a backwards drunk, showing that his attitude toward the planet is immoral. Spender’s care for the Martian environment explains that while it is not their native planet, it is still their responsibility to care for it as their own. After killing the other inconsiderate members of his crew, Spender is on the run. When confronted by the captain, Spender describes a book he found: “The book’s pages were tissue-thin, a book pure silver, hand-painted in black and gold. It was a book of philosophy at least ten-thousand years old he had found in one of the villas of a Martian valley town” (62). This is a valiant attempt by Spender to understand the native’s culture. By taking the time to understand the people who once lived there, the pioneers can develop more sympathy for the Martian lands and ruins. If every other settler were to take up an aspect of the Martian culture, whether architecture, art, or music, the culture, through this united effort, would be preserved and passed on. As most never take the time to do this, most lands are colonized the wrong way. Finally, in one of the more whimsical chronicles, Bradbury describes settlers’ children playing in the ruins of a Martian town: “And suddenly one of them took off, into the nearest stone house, through the door, across the living room, and into the bedroom where, without half looking he would kick about, thrash his feet, and the black
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