Study Guide

The Martian Isolation

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Isolation is one thing, but interplanetary isolation is a whole different ball game. Just ask Mark Watney. In The Martian, we watch as this brave botanist is stranded on Mars, separated from everyone and everything he holds dear. It's a life filled with danger, disaster, and panic, yet the thing that stings the most are his feelings of loneliness. Sometimes they make him feel a little crazy. Sometimes they just make him feel hopeless. At others, they make him wish he had a volleyball for a best friend. As we watch him adapt and fight back against these dark feelings, however, we learn a lot about the powerful effects isolation can have on even the strongest minds.

Questions About Isolation

  1. Why does Mark become annoyed by his communications with NASA?
  2. Does Mark's loneliness cause him to make any mistakes? Explain.
  3. In what ways does NASA feel isolated?
  4. Would Mark have been better off if someone else stayed behind with him? Explain.

Chew on This

Although Mars is a dangerous place, Mark's feelings of isolation are his biggest pitfall for survival.

Mark could have come up with every duct-tape-related invention under the sun, but he simply could not have survived on his own.

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