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Free Study Guide for The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury-MonkeyNotes
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CHAPTER SUMMARIES WITH NOTES

AUGUST 20001: The Settlers

CHARACTERS

No specific ones.

CONFLICT

Protagonist - The first settlers of Mars, post-expeditions.

Antagonist - The Loneliness, which they feel as they leave Earth.

Climax - Leaving Earth, the settlers must deal with The Loneliness as their previous lives disappear before their eyes.

Outcome - There are few settlers in the beginning of the colonization process.

THEMES

The human cost of exploration, as even pioneers intent on braving new worlds feel a sense of loss at what they leave behind and anxiety over being alone in their new environs. This vignette wryly notes that the number of settlers who head for Mars grows as the actual Earthian population on Mars increases, providing better protection against The Loneliness.

Summary

American settlers leave Earth for Mars and are seized by loneliness as they depart.

Notes

This is another of the prose-poem vignettes that bridges the main stories.


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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