1. How would the stories of The Martian Chronicles be
different if they adhered more stringently to actual scientific findings?
Choose two or three major stories as specific examples.
2. Create a timeline of events on Earth based on the information in all the
stories. How is it a reflection of contemporary concerns - that is, at
the time Bradbury wrote the stories?
3. Consider the different difficulties the first four expeditions faced on
Mars. How can these four stories be considered a microcosm of the major
thematic concerns of The Martian Chronicles? What
can be said of each of the captains in these expeditions and what they
4. Examine the story bridges as individual pieces in their own right. Do they
work well poetically? Thematically? If a reader were to encounter these
bridges without the larger stories, what picture of Mars would emerge?
5. Look at one of the two stories later omitted from the British edition of
the book - "Up in the Air" and "Usher II" - and explain
why they may not fit in as well as other stories in the collection. What
do they contribute to the collection that is productive? How do they detract?
Was it ultimately correct to omit these stories?
6. Examine the use of humor in Bradbury's writing. What kinds of humor does
he employ most often, and what does that tell us of his view on human
nature? Consider how humor is used to leaven the seriousness of a situation,
as in "The Earth Men" and "The Silent Towns".
7. How credible is the notion that people will return to a war-ravaged earth
when it is threatened by world war? What assumptions does Bradbury make
with such a premise, and how true do they hold today?
8. Consider how the term "Martian" is employed in different ways and for different people in the book. What does this tell us about the nature of identity, especially in relation to political and cultural loyalties? How does it contract to other ways people identify themselves in the book?
9. Explore how Mars works as a character in its own right. If you were to
describe it as a personality in the book, what kind of attributes would
it have? And how would it contrast to Earth as a presence in the book?
10. What do we learn about native Martian culture from these stories?
How are they a reflection of other indigenous peoples who suffered at
the hands of colonization? Draw specific analogies where possible.
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Cite this page:
Mescallado, Ray. "TheBestNotes on The Martian Chronicles".
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