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Martian Chronicles, The Issues of Past and Present

If the Martian Chronicles had been written in the 1999’s instead of fifty years ago, many issues and problems would change. Ray Bradbury wrote his book in 1946. In it he wrote about problems such as censorship, man’s cruelty to man, and loneliness. Each issue shows up in one or two of his chronicles. All of his issues affect every one of his characters in many different ways. Censorship is a main problem or issue today, and in the book it shows up in one of his chronicles, “Usher II”. In this chronicle, a man builds a house of Usher.

One man points (he was from a group that was against all forms of imagination) out, “No books, no houses, nothing to be produced which in any way suggests ghosts, vampires, fairies, or any creature of imagination. ” Yet in this house he saw all of these things and more. The chronicle also brings up the issue of censoring certain books by authors such as Edgar Allen Poe. The house that is built is based on a house that is in one of Poe’s books. The unimaginative man is ignorant to the facts of Edgar A. P. ‘s books and does not even recognize the kind of death he was about to face that was directly copied out of a book.

If it were to happen today and now, the only books that would be allowed would be schoolbooks, and even those books could not contain theories. That is the way censorship is brought up in the book. Today, however, it affects more than just books. It is used in movies, TV, news, magazines, and the Internet. Words, obscenity, and some vulgar things can be kept from the viewing audience. They can keep certain people, those seventeen and younger from seeing movies, TV, or Internet sites. In the book one character makes a point of saying, “ignorance is fatal. ”

Man’s cruelty to man is another issue in the Martian Chronicles that is and was a problem in the real world. In the book, it shows up in three chronicles, “Ylla”, “The Off Season”, and “Way in the Middle of the Air”. “Ylla” and “The Off Season” are more of family cruelty, while “Way in the Middle of the Air” deals more with racism. Both are reasons that people get hurt and even die for no reason. Or for a stupid reason like color or gender. In “Ylla”, Ylla, or Mrs. K. , is noticing that her marriage is not as fun as it used to be and her and her husband don’t go out anymore.

But one day she has a dream or people from earth (she lives on Mars) coming to visit Mars. She wants to meet the earthmen, but makes the mistake of telling Mr. K. , or Yll. Yll gets jealous and demands that Ylla not leave the house. He thinks that she has fallen in love with the earthling. While she is at home waiting like a good wife, he goes out and shoots the men, not even thinking of his wife. The form of cruelty in that chronicle is less physical and more on the note of just trying to keep your wife happy. Yll did not even regard his wife and only had his own intentions intended upon.

In “The Off Season” it is more of not listening to your wife when she is right and even a little bit of physical violence. In “The Off Season”, Sam Parkhill pushes his wife down and won’t listen to her when they are in trouble, even though she was right most of the time. The entire time, she tells him what she thinks he should do, and he doesn’t listen to her. One incident happened when aliens (who were really nice) were chasing them and the wife told him to stop and talk to the aliens. He just pushed her down and kept on going, and when he finally did stop, the aliens gave him a present.

Proving that the wife was right the entire time. Today, family cruelty happens more often than it should. Husband on wife, wife on husband, or parents on children are the most common. Abused children are likely to grow up to abuse their children too. Family members can even be taken advantage of, too. Sometimes it can be an illness that makes them abuse others, or alcohol. Most of the time, the person who is being abused can’t do anything to help the situation. In “Way in the Middle of the Air”, Teece, a white racist man, finds out that all of the African Americans are going to Mars.

This upsets Teece because he uses the African Americans for work and torture. One boy asks Teece what he will do nights now that his African Americans are leaving whom will he rape, lynch, or hunt after? Who will do his work by force? Who can he laugh at when he is bored? This upsets Teece very much. He considered the African Americans his, like property even though slavery had already been abolished. Even now, almost fifty years later, racism is a huge problem. In probably every city, suburb, town, or village there is at least one racist person who lives there.

And now you can be racist against not only people who look different then you, but also people who choose a different living style then you. And the killings still happen too. Just because someone is different then you. There are huge groups like the K. K. K. (Klu Klux Klan) and neo nazis. Even high-school hate groups. This is one issue that concerns the entire world. This is not just happening in America, it is happening everywhere! Loneliness shows up in two chronicles, “The Silent Towns” and “The Long Years”. In “The Silent Towns” Walter and Genevieve and are the last people on Mars.

When they find each other Walter described Genevieve as “Her fingers, cuddling it, were plump and pallid. Her face, as he stepped into the light was round and thick, and her eyes were like two immense eggs stuck into a white mess of bread dough. ” So even though they found each other, Genevieve disgusted Walter in every way. Walter left in frustration and disgust. Both, Walter and Genevieve, never saw a human again. In “The Long Years”, Mr. Hathaway and his family robot family live on Mars. His real family had died years before.

He was so lonely that he created robots to replace his dead family. He could not handle the fact that his family had died and left him to live alone. Many people, if they could, would bring back their diseased family members, loved but unforgotten. Most people miss family and friends that have moved or died. Some just may be shy and not have friends. Loneliness is something one can’t do anything about. It will happen. You can’t even make a law against it because it is a feeling. Some get over there loneliness by meeting new people, but still others never get over it and live lonely.

All of these issues mentioned are important today and it the book. Some have become better of over the last fifty years; some have become worse. Other issues not chosen affect life and the world too. Although these issues are still a problem, the world is what it is because of the, be that good or bad. Censorship, man’s cruelty to man, and loneliness will affect us even if we are on another planet. However that does not mean that we shouldn’t try to stop the problem. If we work together we can abolish the wrongs of this world!

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