Free Study Guide: The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury|
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THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES: FREE LITERATURE SUMMARY
The McClellan house, preserving order and routine long after the death
of its owners by atomic war.
The forces of entropy and decay.
After years of following empty routine, a fire destroys the house.
A last remnant of the routine remains in the mechanical voice that recounts
The routine of everyday life is made strange by the absence of the humans
that the house was built to serve. If anything, Bradbury's decision to
separate metaphorically the dancer from the dance helps to show how artificial
and mechanical life can be, especially in an age where technology dictates
so much of what we do and how we do it. If anything, the house stands
as a testament to the hubris of technology outstripping the more humane
concerns of a culture, and the destruction of the house is a kind of rough
justice done to a world that values machines more than people.
In Allendale, California, the fully automated house of the McClellan
family continues as if humans still lived in it. It is the only house
in the neighborhood, standing among ruins, the silhouettes of the atomic-flashed
family still visible on the west wall. On August 4, 2026, the house proceeds
with its usual routine: serving breakfast, then cleaning up afterwards,
sprinkling the garden, cleaning. A stray dog sneaks in around noon, but
it only wanders around before dying; the robotic cleaning mice quickly
clean up its remnants. The childrenís hour takes place at 4:30 PM, at
5 PM a bath is filled, and at 9 PM a poem is read aloud for the benefit
of Mrs. McClellan. At 10 PM that night, the house begins to die: a falling
tree falls through the kitchen window, starting a stove fire. The fire
spreads through the house, setting off explosions. The next morning, all
thatís left of the house and its routine is the voice repeating mechanically,
"Today is August 5, 2026."
As noted in "The Watchers", Los Angeles was bombed in the initial
throes of the Great War.
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Mescallado, Ray. "TheBestNotes on The Martian Chronicles".
. 09 May 2017