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Free Study Guide: The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

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FREE BOOK SUMMARY: THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES

December 2001: The Green Morning

CHARACTERS

Benjamin Driscoll
An early settler who suffers from the low oxygen levels on Mars.

Doctor
Another settler who explains Driscoll's medical condition to him.

Co-ordinator
The unnamed official who agrees to let Driscoll plant trees across Mars.



CONFLICT

Protagonist

Benjamin Driscoll, who plants trees to enrich Mars' oxygen.

Antagonist

The Martian landscape, which doesn't have enough oxygen.

Climax

Trees spring up overnight.

Outcome

Driscoll passes out upon witnessing this sudden miracle.


THEMES

The major theme is the continued colonization process, as steps are taken to make it more inhabitable by Earthians - even those less suited to its environs, such as Driscoll. A minor, related theme is the satisfaction of finding a productive role in a new society: Driscoll gains satisfaction in knowing he's providing a unique benefit to Mars and the settlers, one that directly helps him but also every other Earthian.


Summary

Taking inspiration from Johnny Appleseed, Benjamin Driscoll walks around Mars, planting trees to grow. Settling at his campfire one evening, he reminisces of when he first arrived on Mars: to his surprise, he found himself unable to breathe comfortably due to the low oxygen levels and fainted. When the doctor recommends that he return to Earth, Driscoll refused and came up with his tree-planting mission. This is approved by the Co-ordinator, who warned Driscoll there'd be little support for this idea in the mining communities of the early settlements. In the present day, Driscoll awakes at his campfire as a steady rainfall began; he basks in the rain, happy with his situation, then goes back to sleep. The next morning, he wakes to the miracle of full-grown trees blossoming around him, and faints.

Notes

Oddly, no mention of abundant trees on Mars are made in any subsequent stories. If anything, the arid, dessert-like nature of Mars continues to be emphasized in later stories.


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