The Martian Chronicles Essay Questions

Essay Questions

  1. 1

    How does Usher II relate to the rest of the novel?

    Because it is a conglomeration of already-penned stories and new material, this is an extremely fragmentary novel whose sections frequently seem to have nothing to do with each other. However, Usher has a common theme with the rest of the novel in terms of the way humans colonize even the most "alien" of places and mold them into what is familiar to them, not what is familiar to the existing inhabitants. Stendahl has come to Mars in order to get away from the censorship and bureaucracy that has frustrated him on Earth, but the censors and self-appointed morality police have already colonized Mars and replicated the rules they created on Earth. In this way he has more in common with the Martians than with the humans as neither party wanted humans to come to Mars and both would have preferred for it to have remained "uncivilized".

  2. 2

    Both Mars and Earth experience the apocalypse with chicken pox and nuclear war. What do the two events have in common?

    The majority of Martians are wiped out as a result of chicken pox that was brought onto Mars by the new arrivals from Earth. Earth was all but wiped out as a result of nuclear war. Bradbury's objective here is to show that man is far more capable of wiping themselves out than of being annihilated by an outside force; he also believes that man's constant attempts to colonize new frontiers cause destruction to the indigenous inhabitants of the land. The humans colonizing Mars are not welcomed by the Martians because they change everything that is familiar and functional. Colonization brings change but Bradbury's belief that this is unwelcome and destructive inspires both the chicken pox and nuclear war destruction of each planet.

  3. 3

    How does the arrival of families on Mars provide an optimistic conclusion to the novel?

    The final two families the novel introduces are "intact" families with happily-married parents and two children that are well-adjusted and content. This is in contrast to many of the confrontational relationships presented earlier in the book and both families are similar to the "real life" families that move to new pastures in an attempt to better their lives and provide a better future for their children. In addition the fact that one family has two daughters, the other, two sons, tacitly implies a future for the human race on Mars as we assume these children will ultimately marry and produce the next generation.

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