“This is no celebration,” replied the captain tiredly. “This is no banquet. These aren’t government representatives. This is no surprise party. Look at their eyes. Listen to them!”
…”Where are we, sir?”
The captain exhaled. “In an insane asylum.” (Bradbury 34-35)
What a beautiful twist! And this book is full of them.
First, the initial expedition, which made it to the ground only to be murdered.
Then the second expedition, who told the people of Mars they were from Earth and were then forced into the asylum because the natives thought they were crazy telepathic Martians.
I like the way Bradbury convinces the reader of this. First, the astronauts are celebrating. They think someone is finally taking them seriously, until the natives mention they’re from Earth as well, which obviously isn’t true.
And then they think, we’ll we just have to prove it’s true. It shouldn’t be difficult, considering that they have pink skin and Martians are brown. But notice the captain’s words when his men ask them if it should be easy to leave. “I’m not [certain.] Look in that corner” (35). Where people bent realities with their minds. The people of Mars mentioned earlier in the book they were telepathic. This was not only a believable excuse, but riveting for the reader as the second expedition encounters their own realistic problem. I loved it!
I loved how this problem harassed the third expedition as well, and it was also not until the captain reflected on his reality, the odds of it happening, until he realized these imaginings were from his mind (63). It is these reflections that gives the characters the realization and the ability to act on these problems, and it is these reflections that clue the reader into the problem and give us the ability to react.
These reflections made these next chapters exquisite! And I definitely think they point out why self-reflection and thought are so important for our characters. Without it, they’re not real. They’re just figurines.
Bradbury, Ray. The Martian Chronicles. New York, NY: Harper Perennial, 1997. Print.