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Free Study Guide: The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

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FREE PLOT SUMMARY / SYNOPSIS: THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES

March 2000: The Taxpayer

CHARACTERS

Pritchard
An American taxpayer.



CONFLICT

Protagonist

Pritchard, who wishes to go to Mars to avoid atomic war on Earth.

Antagonist

The American government, who ignores him.

Climax

His demand to join the third expedition falls on deaf ears.

Outcome

He remains on Earth.


THEMES

Escape from a horrible situation and a false sense of entitlement. The phrase "I'm a taxpayer" is often used to protest perceived poor treatment at the hands of the government.


Summary

Pritchard demands to go to Mars to avoid atomic war on Earth, but is refused.

Notes

The foreshadowing of an atomic war is brought to the forefront in this brief vignette. Pritchard's desperation seems unwarranted: he may be considered a crank, someone whose dissatisfactions are out of proportion from the reality of the situation. And yet, there are subtle hints in other stories that indicate the extent of the problem: that only Americans make the voyage to Mars, indicating a strong rift in international relations; the disillusionment about humanity that Spender expresses quite fatally on the fourth expedition. In a way, Pritchard is a prophet unheeded by his people.


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