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Essay about The Martian Chronicles, by Ray Bradbury

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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 land, and rebuild a comfortable human society on Mars. The parallels between the Earthlings in the novel and imperialists today are made very apparent, exposing the reader to the idea that humans have been colonizing territories in the wrong way. Instead, Bradbury offers the correct solution by stating that the righteous way to colonize a new land is by preserving and adapting to the native culture of the land, and by becoming a foreigner, or Martian, themselves.

Throughout the novel, Bradbury illustrates numerous accounts of the settlers disrespect for their new planet, and the reader is able to understand that he regards varying cultures highly. These instances of clear irreverence for Mars explain to the reader that the Earthlings are going about colonization in the wrong way, and should instead preserve their new home and culture. Early in the novel, Biggs, a member of the fourth expedition, throws his empty beer bottles into a Martian canal and arrogantly remarks, “I christen thee, I christe...


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... is by preserving the Martians’ old customs and cities, and by starting over as a Martian themselves. His message has such a great application to the modern world because in Bradbury’s time many industrial nations were forgetting that a state could excel without imposing Western ideas. Instead, they destroyed ancient civilizations simply because they failed to see the accomplishments of the natives, and left many cultures in a state where they could not be recovered. Bradbury’s theme is one that can pertain to nations of the past, present, and future. Colonizing should not be a game of trying to rebuild exactly the life one is used to. Instead, settlers should build and improve upon the nations that once thrived there, without erasing the evidence of native success.





Works Cited

Bradbury, Ray. The Martian Chronicles. New York: Bantam Books, 1950. Print.


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