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Free Study Guide: The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

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FREE LESSON PLANS: THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES

April 2003: The Musicians

CHARACTERS

Unnamed boys
Warned not to play in the Martian cities, they do so anyway.



CONFLICT

Protagonist

The boys, who are warned not to visit the Martian cities.

Antagonist

The parents, who make this warning.

Climax

The boys go, ignoring direct orders, and have fun playing with the bones of dead Martians.

Outcome

The parents discover what happened and punish them.


THEMES

The romanticizing of youthful experiences, with its innocent sense of discovery and wonder; and the defilement of an ancient culture and peoples by ruthless, callous colonizers. Note that Bradbury places no judgment on the behavior of the boys, which exposes a tension between the two thematic strains in his work. Is this simple child's play, or desecration on top of genocide? Is this an exploration into imagination and a world of awe, or the first step in desensitizing children to the plight of others?


Summary

The parents of some Earthian boys are warned not to go to the ancient cities. They go regardless of such warnings, playing with the bones of dead Martians while pretending to be musicians. The boys return home, their deeds discovered on the soles of their shoes, and they are punished.


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