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Free Study Guide: The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

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FREE ONLINE NOTES: THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES

CHAPTER SUMMARIES WITH NOTES

January 1999: Rocket Summer

CHARACTERS

No specific ones.


CONFLICT

Protagonist

The rocket.

Antagonist

Winter, metaphorically set aside by the rocket's heat.

Climax

The rocket descends and melts winter away.

Outcome

The town is temporarily in summertime again.


THEMES

The seasonal shift emphasizes the changes brought by technology on human life, and in turn foreshadows the theme of human life (with their technology) changing Mars and the Martians when they colonize the planet.


Summary

The rocket descends on a small town in Ohio during winter, bringing summer in its heat.

Notes

This vignette is very brief and intends to convey a sense of awe and wonder at what technology is capable of. Summer is symbolic of youthfulness and energy, which space travel and colonization is supposed to inspire.


February 1999: Ylla

CHARACTERS


Ylla K
A Martian wife.

Yll K
Ylla's husband.

Nathaniel York
The Earthman who contacts Ylla through dreams.

Pao
A friend of Ylla's who lives in the Green Valley.

Doctor Nlle
A friend of Yll and Ylla.


CONFLICT

Protagonist

Ylla, who wishes to meet the Earthman from her dreams.

Antagonist

Yll, who is jealous of Ylla's attention towards this seeming imaginary figure.

Climax

Yll deceives Ylla, forcing her to stay home at the time the Earthman is supposed to arrive.

Outcome

Yll kills the Earthman, causing a rift between himself and his wife.


THEMES

Marriage and jealousy are the two main themes of this story. What makes a marriage work? How much trust is necessary? And what happens when someone or something threatens the marriage?


Summary

Ylla K has dreams about a man from Earth arriving on Mars. She shares with Yll details of this Nathaniel York's exotically strange appearance, the music of his culture, and the belief that he will and in the Green Valley. Yll K suppresses his jealousy as best he can and tries to be more attentive to his wife, but realizes she intends to meet York when he lands. Using the ruse of a supposed visit by Doctor Nlle, Yll convinces Ylla not to go to Green Valley - she herself tried the ruse of visiting Pao to go to the area. She stays home and Yll goes out hunting, killing York. Though nothing is said of this, Ylla is aware of what happened.

Notes

The wife's name is an extension of the husband's, subtly indicating her subservience to him. The married couple never admit to each other that Ylla's dreams of York are based in reality, instead speaking of it as a kind of imaginative fancy. However, both of them behave as if York's arrival is real, making him Yll's rival for Ylla's affection. The marriage is kept together tenuously by this refusal to speak of things that could tear their bond apart.


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