A young settler on his way to a party.
A worker at a gas station who appreciates the newness and beauty of Mars.
A Martian on his way to a festival.
Tomas Gomez, an Earthian settler on his way to a party.
Muhe Ca, a Martian on his way to a celebration.
The two realize they inhabit different times in Martian history, but
cannot agree on whose experience is the present.
They go off on their separate trips, wishing each other the best.
The main theme is that interaction between beings is always an attempt
to overcome solipsism. Solipsism is the belief that one's self and one's
experiences are the only verifiable truths: for example, when and where
you live determines how you see the world. However, when encountering
others who've had a vastly different set of experiences - perhaps even
contradictory ones from your own - an effort must be made to understand
that other view and to reconcile it with one's own. It's worth noting
that both Tomas and Muhe Ca are insistent that theirs is the "present"
view and the other being's view is of that present's past. The notion
that one's race faces extinction is apparently disturbing to them both,
and creates a subtle bond between them. This leads to a minor theme in
the story, that one should appreciate life to the fullest: suddenly made
aware of their individual mortality and the grander scope of a universe
where civilizations disappear in a cosmic blink, each of them continue
on their trips to celebrate and enjoy themselves. This isn't a frivolous
pursuit, but rather an affirmation of being alive and appreciating what
little time they have in the world.
On his way to a party, Tomas stops for gas and talks with the attendant about
the qualities of living on Mars. He drives on, stopping briefly at a dead
Martian town to take in the ambiance, then stops again at a promontory.
At this point an insect-like Martian ship approaches and its rider, Muhe
Ca, climbs out: he is on his way to a festival at a Martian city. The
two beings introduce themselves to each other, and Muhe Ca picks up English
telepathically so they can communicate more easily. Tomas tries to share
a drink with the Martian when they find they cannot touch each other or
their respective belongings. Each insists the other is a ghost, a remnant
of the past: Muhe Ca does not know of the Earth landing and insists the
Mars he knows is very much alive, while Tomas informs him of the death
of his people. Muhe Ca argues that it may be his experience that is thousand
of years in advance, not the other way around. Finally, they agree to
disagree: while pondering one's mortality is difficult, there is too much
of life to appreciate and enjoy to be weighed down by this. They wish
each other well and resume their journeys.
Given the end of the book, it's possible that his version of events is as
correct as Tomas Gomez - that is, the new Martians at the close of Bradbury's
books may have evolved.
Cite this page:
Mescallado, Ray. "TheBestNotes on The Martian Chronicles".
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