Study Guide

The Martian Friendship

By Andy Weir

Friendship

Chapter 3
Mark Watney

Thanksgiving was going to happen [...] and NASA's shrinks thought it would be good for us to make a meal together. (3.30)

Well isn't that adorable. It's actually a good idea when you think about it—camaraderie is a crucial ingredient for a successful mission. If it was us, we'd be way too lazy to do any work after eating all of that turkey. And stuffing. And pie. And now we're hungry.

Chapter 6
Teddy Sanders

"Space travel is dangerous [...] They're sad that they lost a crewmate, but they'd be devastated if they found out they'd abandoned him alive." (6.110)

This is a tough call. Would knowing that they left their friend behind make the crew feel any better? Or would it only make them feel worse? There are no easy answers to these questions, but the truth has to come out eventually—that Band-Aid needs to be torn off.

Chapter 8
Mitch Henderson

"How long are we gonna keep this from the Ares 3 crew? They all think Watney's dead. It's a huge drain on morale." (8.76)

In our eyes, Mitch is so passionate about this because he's closer to Mark. Mitch and Mark probably hung out a fair bit: after all, Mitch in charge of the Ares 3 mission. Teddy might be able to detach himself from the situation emotionally, but Mitch doesn't have that luxury.

"They all showed signs of stress and moodiness. Mark was no exception, but the way he showed it was to crack more jokes and get everyone laughing." (8.136)

That's the Mark Watney that we know and love. When faced with terrifying, life-threatening situations, Mark doesn't crack up—he cracks wise. He might be losing his mind on the inside, but he's always careful to project positive vibes. In other words, he's a true mensch.

"Social compatibility is key. Mark not only fits well in any social group, he's a catalyst to make the group work better." (8.138)

Group chemistry is important. Think about it: where would Captain Kirk be without Spock? Where would Han Solo be without Chewie? Without good friends at our side, ambitious missions like Ares 3 (or destroying the Death Star, for that matter) are all but impossible.

Teddy Sanders

"As soon as we come up with a plan for rescue, we can tell Hermes. There needs to be some hope, or there's no point in telling them." (8.85)

Super-friends to the rescue! See, NASA knows that the crew will jump at the possibility to aid in Mark's rescue—as we see later, they'll do it even without NASA's approval. Their friend is stuck on that lifeless rock, for Pete's sake, and they won't let anything stand in their way.

Chapter 10
Mark Watney

It got a little cramped. And by "a little cramped" I mean "we wanted to kill each other." I'd give anything to be in that cramped capsule with those guys again. (10.21-22)

Of course, it's not all sunshine and daisies—there's no way that six people can live together without any conflict. The important part is that they all eventually get back together, no matter what petty squabbles they might have had. In a way, it's a lot like living in a college dorm—except, you know, the whole space part.

Chapter 16
Mark Watney

It won't be easy talking to a couple about their dead son. It's a lot to ask; that's why I'm asking you. (16.5)

Mark and Martinez must be bros for life. This isn't the kind of thing you'd ask of a random classmate or coworker—this is something you'd only ask of your best friend.

Chapter 26
Mark Watney

I think about the sheer number of people who pulled together [...] and I can barely comprehend it. My crewmates sacrificed a year of their lives to come back for me. (26.422)

That's powerful. Mark's disappearance actually created a community, bringing together disparate people from disparate backgrounds for one goal—to bring one dorky botanist back home. Most of these people didn't even know him; they probably hadn't even heard his name before. We're getting choked up just thinking about it.

Controllers cheered, hugged, and cried. The same scene played out all over the world, in parks, bars, civic centers, living rooms, classrooms, and offices. (26.402)

And then the credits roll. Hopefully, these people walk away from the experience with a greater appreciation for their friends and family. Maybe they'll even have made a few new friends along the way. Heck, this could even be the start of a spicy new relationship between two NASA scientists. We can dream, can't we?

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