Below you will find four outstanding thesis statements / paper topics for “The Martian Chronicles” by Ray Bradbury that can be used as essay starters. All four incorporate at least one of the themes found in “The Martian Chronicles” and are broad enough so that it will be easy to find textual support, yet narrow enough to provide a focused clear thesis statement. These thesis statements offer a short summary of “The Martian Chronicles” terms of different elements that could be important in an essay. You are, of course, free to add your own analysis and understanding of the plot or themes to them. Using the essay topics below in conjunction with the list of important quotes, you should have no trouble connecting with the text and writing an excellent essay.
Topic # 1: Parables of Human Folly
We destroy Earth and then go to Mars taking with us the same follies, foibles and weaknesses that destroyed our home planet. Will Mars too be destroyed? Will that mean the extinction of the human race? Are humans dangerous to the concept of survival? What is man’s role in the state of the world today?
Topic #2: Parallels in the Different Narratives
The narrative “And the Moon Will Still Be as Bright” is about the arrival of the fourth expedition on Mars. Mars is empty, all its inhabitants dead. Dr. Hathaway, from the fourth expedition, says chicken pox is a cause. This is very reminiscent of the European invasion of the Americas, which introduced diseases that devastated native populations. Captain Spender also strongly criticizes man’s propensity for destruction, lack of respect for differences and selfishness. This parallel runs in the other narratives as well. Examine the significance of this or any other parallel through the book, and explore the commentary the author may have intended.
Topic #3: Colonization
People from Earth have colonized Mars and have imposed their symbols of life, like hot dog stands and insane asylums. What happens to the Martian way of life? Is that completely destroyed? Questions to explore here will include examining the colonizers attitudes and how those colonized work to save their traditions from being overtaken and lost. Draw parallels to world history when countries have been colonized to further deepen your observations.
Topic #4: The Fragmented Narrative Style
The stories, at first glance, seem to be stand alone pieces that aren’t connected. But a further examination shows that certain themes run across the narratives, like those of exploration, exploitation, and ideas of colonization. What are the ways the narratives connect to whole a structure? Can this be looked as a novel of interconnected parts?
The Martian Chronicles Quotes
This list of important quotations from “The Martian Chronicles” by Ray Bradbury will help you work with the essay topics and thesis statements on our paper topics by allowing you to support your claims. All of the important quotes from “The Martian Chronicles” listed here correspond, at least in some way, to the paper topics we created, and by themselves can give you great ideas for an essay by offering quotes about other themes, symbols, imagery, and motifs than those already mentioned.
“It’s like when I was a boy," said Father Peregrine. “We heard about wars in China. But we never believed them. It was too far away. And there were too many people dying. It was impossible. Even when we saw the motion pictures we didn’t believe it. Well, that’s how it is now. Earth is China. It’s so far away it’s unbelievable. It’s not here. You can’t touch it. You can’t even see it. All you see is a green light. Two billion people living on that light? Unbelievable! War? We don’t hear the explosions."
Father Peregrine says these words to the Proprietor of The Luggage Store as they analyze news about a devastating war on Earth. It seems very remote (an analogy of how we are often removed from events happening in different parts of the world far from our secure countries) and Father Peregrine and the Proprietor wonder what people who were expected to come to Mars do in case this is the “Big War" that has been expected to happen for a while. Mars has been colonized by people from Earth. Will they stay behind or will their ties take them back to their home planet?
“There was Earth and there the coming war, and there hundreds of thousands of mothers or grandmothers or fathers or brothers or aunts or uncles or cousins."
This quote from the chapter “November 2005 the Watchers" depict the devastation that war causes and the ultimate losses in human terms. Ultimately it’s not just people who perish but families. This also underlines the whole premise of the narratives contained in the book. As planetary astronomer Carl Sagan has said, “Mars has become a kind of mythic arena onto which we have projected our Earthly hopes and fears."
Sam Parkhill motioned with the broom, sweeping away the blue Martian sand. “Here we are,” he said. “Yes, sir, look at that!” He pointed. “Look at that sign. SAM'S HOT DOGS! Ain't that beautiful, Elma?"
Sam Parkhill wants to take advantage of the lack of competition on Mars and has opened his hot dog stall. This celebrates the absurdity of having something as mundane as hot dogs on Mars. As an analogy it highlights the dangers and absurdness of the whole idea of colonization. It is a telling comment on the concept of colonization and the way it affects all the parties involved.
He moved quietly down through a series of ruins. “Made in New York,” he read from a piece of metal as he passed. “And all these things from Earth will be gone long before the old Martian towns.” He looked towards the fifty-centuries -old village that lay among the Blue Mountains.
The Great War on earth has happened. Mars is also a dead planet. Taken from the chapter April 2026: The Long Years, this quote by Hathaway, one of the last inhalants on Mars, is a sad comment on his loneliness. Hathaway’s real family is dead. He now has replicas to keep up the semblance of his wife and children.
The fire burned on the stone hearth and the cigar fell away into a mound of quiet ash on its tray. The empty chairs faced each other between the silent walls, and the music played.
Taken from the narrative titled “AUGUST 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains", it is used to depict the strangeness of life without humans and animals. This is the last house left standing and it functions just as if people were living in it. In the climax it burns down.
“I was looking for Earthian logic, common sense, good government, peace, and responsibility."
Taken from the chapter, “OCTOBER 2026: The Million-Year Picnic" towards the end of the book, Dad, or William Thomas, says this in the context of the family picnic he has arranged to see Martians. Returning to the theme of colonization, the family on Mars is shown taking a trip to see the native Martians who are obliterated. Around them rockets are self-destructing and the Martians who they have come to see are reflected in the water.
“We are from Earth. I'm Captain Williams. We've landed on Mars within the hour.”
Captain Williams has just landed on Mars. They are colonizers and are victims of the same kind of bureaucracy on Earth. They are made to wait and finally think they have met the right people but soon discover they are no officers but inmates of an insane asylum.
“Don't leave me here on this terrible world, I've got to get away; there's going to be an atom war! Don't leave me on Earth!”
The atomic war that will finally destroy Earth is about to begin and no one wants to be left behind. Pritchard, a resident of Ohio wants to be taken desperately to Mars. After all he believes he qualifies since he is a model citizen and pays his taxes on time.
“And it's a small town the like of Earth towns,” said Hinkston, the archaeologist “Incredible. It can't be, but it is."
The Third Expedition has landed on Mars and they are surprised to discover a village straight from Earth from years ago. But more surprises await them. They see their own family members, long dead, coming towards them.
“We'll rip it up, rip the skin off, and change it to fit ourselves…We Earth Men have a talent for ruining big, beautiful things.”
The Forth Expedition has landed and the explorers are looking at a deserted planet. As one of the crew members throws empty bottles into a canal, Captain Spender pushes him into the canal and extrapolates on man’s behavior and the idea of possessiveness that ultimately destroys instead of fosters gentle and creative energies.