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Themes

Bradbury uses Mars and the Martians as a contrast to the way Earth people (primarily Americans) deal with the world around them. And, unsurprisingly, Americans don't come off too well. As Spender points out, that means they don't understand their own role in the environment. Moreover, The Martian Chronicles makes it clear that American-built technology won't last—either on Mars or on the Earth. Technology may be amazing, but it's no match for nature.

Questions About Man and the Natural World

  1. Much of the discussion of the natural world in this book takes place through the dialogue and actions of a few characters (Spender, Driscoll). Are those characters' opinions the opinions of the book? For instance, does Spender's description of Americans hold true for the Americans we see in the book?
  2. Do you think this book is an accurate portrayal of the way people felt about the natural world in the 1940s? What about today? What has changed between then and now?
  3. How do people attempt to control the environment in this book? Which characters succeed, if any?
  4. Are there any positive interactions between humans and the natural world in this book? Any examples of people helping the environment?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Bradbury sets the book on Mars as a way to reflect on the problems of America's relationship with the environment without making Americans feel too uncomfortable.

The Martian Chronicles shows people changing the world for the better, to make it more livable for humans.

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