Important Quotes and Analysis

7.) From "The Long Rain":

As the men try to sleep in the rain, we have this detailed description:

There were things that crawled on his skin. Things grew upon him in layers. Drops fell and touched other drops and they became streams that trickled over his body, and while these moved down his flesh, the small growths of the forest took root in his clothing. He felt the ivy cling and make a second garment over him; he felt the small flowers bud and open and petal away, and still the rain pattered on his body and on his head. In the luminous night - for the vegetation glowed in the darkness - he could see the other two men outlined, like logs that had fallen and taken upon themselves velvet coverings of grass and flowers. The rain hit his face. He covered his face with his hands. The rain hit his neck. He turned over on his stomach in the mud, on the rubbery plants, and the rain hit his back and hit is legs. (91)

The details help create a sense of the rain as a living, growing being - one contrasted to the ivy that does indeed grow on him. The rain threatens him no matter what he does, claustrophobic and monotonous in its assault. The simple sentences that close this passage show a quid pro quo where every movement to escape the rain's oppression only means he's greeted with the rain on a different part of his body, showing how inevitable and unrelenting the rain has become.

8.) From "The Rocket Man":

Doug describes taking his father's uniform case to take dust from it:

And from the opened case spilled his black uniform, like a black nebula, stars glittering here or there, distantly, in the material. I kneaded the dark stuff in my warm hands, I smelled the plant Mars, an iron smell, and the planet Venus, a green ivy smell, and the planet Mercury, a scent of sulphur and fire, and I could smell the milky mood and the hardness of stars. I pushed the uniform into a centrifuge machine I'd built in my ninth-grade shop that year, set it whirling. Soon a fine powder precipitated into a retort. This I slid under a microscope. And while my parents slept unaware, and while our house asleep, all the automatic bakers and servers and robot cleaners in an electric slumber, I stared down upon brilliant motes of meteor dust, comet tail, and loam from far Jupiter glistening like worlds themselves which drew me down the tube a billion miles into space, at terrific accelerations. (99)

The description of space travel and its residue is highly romantic and iconic in its association with specific planets. The image of a sleeping house - both the parents and the automatons - show how Doug has a desire for adventure very much like his father's, a wish to break outside the mechanized routine of life on Earth. He is very much his father's son, we sense in this chapter, as he imagines traveling through space and Bradbury uses his poetic mode to evoke the romanticized thrills of such an experience.

9.) From "The Fire Balloons":

There is a very telling exchange between Father Peregrine and Father Stone, where Father Peregrine begins by asking:

"Can't you recognize the human in the inhuman?" "I'd much rather recognize the inhuman in the human." (82) Father Peregrine is referring to the possibility that the Martian fiery blue spheres have souls that can be saved. Father Stone responds by focusing on the sins that human beings commit. The symmetry of these statements point out not only the possibility that things not human could have the same value as humans - but also that humans at times do not hold the proper value of their humanity and thus sin. These concerns aren't exclusive to each other - one may believe in both without contradiction, it's simply that each priest has a different focus. Father Peregrine seeks new wonders and new possibilities for religious salvation, while Father Stone is comforted by the long-standing concern of human fallibility and sin as it's traditionally understood.

10.) From "The Last Night of the World":

During their conversation of why the world is ending, the husband and wife have this exchange:

"Where's that spirit called self-preservation they talk so much about?" "I don't know. You don't get too excited when you feel things are logical. This is logical. Nothing else but this could have happened from the way we've lived."

"We haven't been too bad, have we?" "No, nor enormously good. I suppose that's the trouble - we haven't been very much of anything except us, while a big part of the world was busy being lots of quite awful things." (114)

The reference to logic shows how far rational thinking has gone and how creative, imaginative, passionate thinking has been lost to routine. We have no raging against the dying of the light, but a simple surrender of what seems to make sense. Perhaps even more appalling is the tepid measurement of their behavior: they were neither "too bad" nor "enormously good". Locating that as a problem, the husband still manages to downplay the evils they allowed to occur by calling it "quite awful things" - a bland assessment in itself.

11.) From "The Exiles":

As they wait for the landing of the rocket, we have this musing:

Coppard brooded gently. "I wonder who I am. In what Earth mind tonight do I exist? In some African hut? Some hermit, reading my tales? Is he the lonely candle in the wind of time and science? The flickering orb sustaining me here in rebellious exile? Is it him? Or some boy in a discarded attic, finding me, only just in time! Oh, last night I felt ill, ill, ill to the marrows of me, for there is a body of the soul as well as a body of the body, and this soul body ached in all of its glowing parts, and last night I felt myself a candle, guttering. When suddenly I sprang up, given new light! As some child, sneezing with dust, in some yellow garret on Earth once more found a worn, time-specked copy of me! And so I'm given a short respite!" (130)

This is a hopeful image of the continued immortality of a work of literature, reaching out to far-flown cultures ("some African hut") and the most remote of people ("Some hermit"). The sudden rush of vitality he describes is a visceral depiction, not just of the immortal power of literature, but also the way it can invigorate its readers. Ironically, given his imminent death, the most likely reader of his work was the Captain in the rocket approaching Mars.

12.) From "No Particular Night or Morning":

As Hitchcock's downward spiral continues, Clemens tries to understand why this is happening:

"You like the idea of space travel? Going places?" "I don't know. Yes. No. It wasn't going places. It was being between." Hitchcock for the first time tried to focus his eyes upon something, but it was so nebulous and far off that his eyes couldn't make the adjustment, though he worked his face and hands. "Mostly it was space. So much space. I liked the idea of nothing on top, nothing on the bottom, and a lot of nothing in between, and me in the middle of the nothing." (139)

Hitchcock's life had taken him to a point where he craves to be between - that is, in the gaps of experience. It is those gaps where proof is lost and the connections are drawn by faith. Thus, it is those gaps where doubt can also set in, and Hitchcock doesn't want to connect by inhabiting this in-between area. Rather, he wants that in-between to be an immersion in "nothing" - a surrender to doubt and nihilism, itself symbolic of movement towards death.

13.) From "The Fox and the Forest":

Confronting the Travises, Mr. Simms explains,

"... the inhabitants of the Future resent you two hiding on a tropical isle, as it were, while they drop off the cliff into hell. Death loves death, not life. Dying people love to know that others die with them. It is a comfort to learn you are not alone in the kiln, in the grave." (162)

This is a frightening image of groupthink - wishing unhappiness on others because the self is unhappy. Simms takes it upon himself to speak on behalf of the Future and all its inhabitants, showing how the totalitarian government can easily arrogate to itself the beliefs proscribed to everyone in its regime. The image of the kiln is reminiscent of the ovens of the Holocaust.

Cite this page:

Mescallado, Ray. "TheBestNotes on Illustrated Man". . 09 May 2017