The Martian Chronicles
by Ray Bradbury
The Martian Chronicles Theme of Freedom
In The Martian Chronicles, freedom is most interesting when it's taken away. For instance, the government passes a law (banning books), restricting the freedom of a guy like Stendahl. So he gets revenge. Or a spouse restricts a character's freedom (as Ylla's is by Yll); but she just seems to accept it. Or life on Earth is full of official and unofficial racism, so an entire group of people—African-Americans—takes off to find a new, freer world. The search for freedom has led people all over the world and, in the Chronicles, even off the world itself—even if it's not clear what freedom looks like.
Questions About Freedom
- What types of freedom are valued in The Martian Chronicles? What sorts of things should people not be free to do?
- This book focuses a lot on freedom being taken away by other people, but what about other restrictions on freedom? For instance, are characters in the book restricted by the laws of science?
- How justified are Stendahl and Spender in using violence to preserve some sort of freedom? Do other characters use violence to protect their freedoms? How does the book make you feel about them?
Chew on This
Because The Martian Chronicles was written at a time when people were worried about conformity, freedom means freedom from other people's interference.
Freedom in The Martian Chronicles is a mixed concept, with both positive and negative consequences.