Important Quotes and Analysis

14.) From "The Visitor":

After Leonard Mark is killed, Saul tries to imagine New York but fails:

It didn't work. It wasn't the same. New York was gone and nothing he could do would bring it back. He would rise every morning and walk on the dead sea looking for it, and walk forever around Mars, looking for it, and never find it. And finally lie, too tired to walk, trying to find New York in his head, but not finding it. (185)

There is a sense of abandonment in these images that reinforces the loneliness at the start of the story. New York is of course metonymic of Earth but also of the things Saul has given up in his poor treatment of Mark: companionship and a humane view of life, things which help place human above beasts. While the fatigue of walking is evident from the disease, it also shows a moral and spiritual collapse - the end result of chasing something he cannot achieve, much like Captain Hart in "The Man".


15.) From "The Concrete Mixer":

Ettil Vrye frets about his fate if he stays on Earth:

All that he really knew was that if he stayed here he would soon be the property of a lot of things that buzzed and snorted and hissed, that give off fumes or stenches. In six months he would be the owner of a large pink, trained ulcer, a blood pressure of algebraic dimensions, a myopia this side of blindness, and nightmares as deep as oceans and infested with improbable lengths of dream intestines through which he must violently force his way each night. No, no. (203)

Bradbury uses his poetic style to evoke disgust instead of beauty, a satiric foreboding instead of a nostalgic look back. The images are grotesque and hyperbolic, with the use of body parts to help reinforce a sense of disease and malaise. The simple "No, no," at the end is straightforward and almost a logical conclusion to all he described before: if this is what's facing him, of course he will refuse it, emphatically so, as seen by the repetition.

16.) From "Marionettes, Inc.":

Justifying his decision to have a robot look-alike, Braling explains to Smith,

"It may be splitting hairs, but I think it is highly ethical. After all, what my wife wants most of all is me. This marionette is me to the hairiest detail. I've been home all evening. I shall be home with her for the next month. In the meantime another gentlemen will be in Rio after ten years of waiting. When I return from Rio, Braling Two here will go back in his box." (215)

The term "splitting hairs" shows how much Braling is morally compromised in making this decision - he needs to refine the argument for it to work in his favor. He refers to Braling Two as if it was Braling himself, equating the two as being essentially the same. What Braling doesn't understand is that he provides the very rationale for his replacement: if the marionette is him, then why keep the actual him around?

17.) From "The City":

As the crew of the rocket expedition continues to explore, we find,

Now the city was fully awake! Now the vents sucked and blew air, the tobacco odor from the invaders' mouths, the green soap scent from their hands. Even their eyeballs had a delicate odor. The city detected it, and this information formed totals which scurried down to total other totals. The crystal windows glittered, the Ear tautened and skinned the drum of its hearing tight, tighter - all of the senses of the city swarming like a fall of unseen snow, counting the respiration and the dim hidden heartbeats of the men, listening, watching, tasting. (227)

The use of "Now" evokes a sense of power, of a sudden surge of activity. The reference to the senses is both meant to disgust the reader with stimulants that would otherwise go unconsidered, while the repeated use of the word "totals" indicates the cold calculation of the city in its plan for revenge. The Ear's tightening creates both a physical and literary tension - a build-up to the attack that will be sprung on the prey.

18.) From "Zero Hour":

Early in the story, we find this description:

Meanwhile, parents came and went in chromium beetles. Repairmen came to repair the vacuum elevators in houses, to fix fluttering television sets or hammer upon stubborn food-delivery tubes. The adult civilization passed and repassed the busy youngsters, jealous of the fierce energy of the wild tots, tolerantly amused at their flourishings, longing to join in themselves. (233)

There is a sense of mindless activity by adults, reinforced by the reference to "beetles" - insects - and the fixing of technology meant to comfort and pamper humans. The tension felt in relation to the world of children is seen as jealousy, then amusement - not seeing any seriousness in the activities of children, wanting to partake in the useless expense of energy when in reality it is the adult routines that are themselves empty of meaning.

19.) From "The Rocket":

The dream of space travel is summed up when the children believe they are actually in outer space:

The moon dreamed by. Meteors broke into fireworks. Time flowed away in a serpentine of gas. The children shouted. Released from their hammocks, hours later, they peered from the ports. "There's Earth!" "There's Mars!" (255)

The childlike wonder in the language is summed up by unusual word choices: the moon dreams, the meteors are likened to fireworks, and time is a "serpentine of gas". The children shouting simple declaratives show how basic the dream is, and how it's buoyed by their energy.

20.) From "The Illustrated Man":

As Phelps wonders if he truly wants to strangle his wife, Lisabeth confronts him:

She walked around the table, hands fitted to her hips, talking to the beds, the walls, the table, talking it all out of her. And he thought: Or did I know? Who made this picture, me or the witch? Who formed it? How? Do I really want her dead? No! And yet. ... He watched his wife draw nearer, nearer, he saw
the ropy strings of her throat vibrate to her shouting. This and this and this was wrong with him! That and that and that was unspeakable about him!
(270)

As he ponders in italics who is responsible for the tattoo on his chest, he's also pondering where the responsibility lies in this murderous witch. Meanwhile, the language of the wife is built off short clauses that play up the anger of Lisabeth. The reference to "the ropy strings of her throat" creates the temptation to grab the throat and still the vibration of the strings - a clear foreshadow that he will indeed commit the vile act. This culminates in a white noise of accusations with the use of "this" and "that" to show how her rage is vented but has no distinct value for Phelps, that it has become a general attitude separate from whatever reasons may exist.

21.) From The Epilogue:

Having seen all the stories, the narrator describes the last tattoo to form:

The picture on his back showed the Illustrated Man himself, with his fingers about my neck, choking me to death. I didn't wait for it to become clear and sharp and a definite picture. (275)

The refusal to wait for a "sharp and definite picture" plays up the panic he feels, as well as his wish to avoid the finality such a definite picture would provide - that is, his own death.

Cite this page:

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