Study Guide

The Martian Chronicles The Wilderness

By Ray Bradbury

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The Wilderness

  • (Publishing history snack: This story was added in 1997 to replace "Way in the Middle of the Air.")
  • In Independence, Missouri, Janice Smith and Leonora Holmes prepare for their trip to Mars.
  • Janice is not looking forward to her ride in a spaceship, because she was once stuck in a dark closet and fell down a flight of dark stairs. 
  • Since falling down a dark flight of stairs is almost exactly like flying through space. Yup.
  • Anyway, Janice is conquering her fear to go to Mars because her BF Will is already there.
  • Janice and Leonora hit us over the head with some themes by talking about how colonizing Mars is a lot like settling the Old West. 
  • (For more about this, see "Setting"—and every other story that says that same thing, especially the interchapters.) 
  • Janice and Leonora say goodbye to their town one last time—goodbye trees, goodbye chocolate malted at the soda shop, goodbye perfume. You know, the important things. 
  • Janice calls Will on the lightphone, which is apparently a piece of technology that hasn't made it through the Apple labs yet, but the only message that gets through from Mars is "love."

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