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The Martian Chronicles Chapter Summary Essay

The first book I decided to read this summer was The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury. This book was first published in 1946. However, it is set in the distant future, as many of his novels are. Bradbury begins his novel in January of 2030 in Ohio where a rocket is launched into space heading for Mars. In the following month on Mars, a Martian named Ylla begins having strange dreams about a rocket from Earth landing on her planet and a strange creature named Nathaniel York emerging from it. Ylla’s dreams come true, and the men from Earth finally land on Mars, but her husband shoots them all.

The next expedition from Earth lands in August 2030, this time carrying three men who are led by Captain Williams. They explore the civilization and after being turned away by so many, the men find themselves speaking with Mr. Xxx, a psychologist who believes the men are crazy and have been hallucinating. Mr. Xxx shoots and kills all four men. A third rocket lands on Mars in April 2030. The men on this expedition, led by Captain John Black find themselves in a small American-style town full of their dead relatives.

The astronauts spend the evening with their dead relatives but realize too late that everything is not what it seems. All sixteen men are killed that night by their “relatives”, and burial is held the following morning. In June 2032, a fourth expedition to Mars is led by Captain Wilder. They find that many of the Martians have died from the Chicken Pox One man, Jeff Spender, goes crazy during the expedition and kills several members of the crew before Captain Wilder kills him.

After this expedition, humans begin to colonize Mars to escape the problems of their lives back on Earth. Benjamin Driscoll decides that he wants to plant trees to create more oxygen on Mars and ends up planting over 5,000 trees. Plenty of other Earthlings soon arrive on Mars. Soon a town is constructed and filled with humans as they begin to take over the planet. However, in November of 2036, the humans occupying Mars hear of a war manifesting on Earth and ponder returning to their home planet. In the following month it seems everyone has made the decision to return to Earth.

In October of 2057, a family seems to have escaped the nuclear war on Earth and fled to Mars to start their lives over. As much as I love Ray Bradbury’s writing, I was not a huge fan of this book. There weren’t main characters to follow rather the protagonists of the story were the Martians originally from Mars, and the antagonists were the humans who came to colonize the planet. As I read further into the book, I also realized that this story seemed to be more of a collection of events that occurred between the years 2030 and 2036.

I felt that some of the sections/chapters in this book just seemed like fillers and weren’t all that necessary. In my opinion, they provided little to no help with developing the plot of the story and often seemed out of place. These sections would briefly follow an event with certain characters that were not mentioned previously in the book. For instance, one section titled May 2034: The Wilderness, we shift gears from life on Mars to life on Earth with two young women, Leonora and Janice, who have made the decision to come live on Mars and will be taking the next rocket out.

Janice was hesitant to go at first, but Leonora convinced her otherwise by reminding her that the man she loves, Will, is up there and waiting for her. I didn’t care for sections like these because these characters and this section overall seemed irrelevant to me. Neither of this woman is actually described appearance wise, so we don’t even know what they look like nor were they featured anywhere else in this novel further proving my point that this section was not needed. Although, there were several aspects of this book I did not like, I did find some enjoyment towards the end of the novel.

In the section titled November 2036: The Silent Towns, a man, Walter Gripps finds himself to be the only man left on Mars because every other human that had settled there decided to return to Earth after hearing of a nuclear war breaking out there. A swell idea… ,. He eventually can contact the last woman on Mars, Genevieve Selsor, through telephone and plans to meet her in town. Walter pictures this woman as he hears her, sweet and fine. Voices may be deceiving. Walter had been so excited to meet her. He had a smile plastered on his face as he walked through the town looking for her.

He finally found her emerge from a shop carrying a box of chocolates. His smile dropped. Standing in front of Walter was a less that perfect image of the woman he had imagined. She was a heavyset woman with extremely messy hair and unfortunate eyebrows. They spend the rest of the day together with Walter trying to be a polite as possible without showing his disappointment until Genevieve shows Walter a wedding dress simply because they’re they only two people on Mars. Walter wastes no time, says goodbye to Genevieve and rides off into the sunset to live alone for the rest of his life.

This man would rather live alone in the woods than marry the last woman on Mars. I found this part to be very humorous and similar to something you’d see in a cartoon or a sitcom. But that’s got to be a huge blow to Genevieve’s self-esteem. Even though, many aspects of this book annoyed me, I would still recommend it to someone else who also enjoys Ray Bradbury books or just science fiction novels in general. Even though I know that alien related books such as this one are not my type, I still look forward to reading more books by Bradbury.

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