hroughout the history of time, colonization has played a key role in the establishment of many powerful civilizations. Critic Robin Reid claims that “Bradbury’s novel (the Martian Chronicles) cannot be considered as expressing a completely postcolonial point of view. ” However, Reid is underplaying the extent to which Bradbury emphasizes his post colonialist theme in The Martian Chronicles.
His futuristic take on human domination in his short stories “June 2001,” and “February 2002” portrays everything post colonialism stands for: the extinction of nearly the entire Martian race, human inhabitance of the land, and extensive use of Mars’s resources.
The novel paints a vivid picture of a foreign society in which the humans’ natural curiosity of Mars quickly turns to selfish ambition to rampantly colonize the Martian culture and land. Bradbury, in turn, gives us a theoretical sense of how the mistakes from our past may very well be the mistake of our future.
The preface of post colonization in The Martian Chronicles begins with the eradication of the Martian species, serving as a commencement to the ultimate demise of their culture.
By the time the fourth expedition from America reaches Mars, they arrive only to find nearly the entire Martian race wiped out of existence after contracting chicken pox, “A disease that doesn’t even kill children on Earth,” (Bradbury, 51). Though the spread of disease was unintentional, its affects were irreversible.
Due to the Martians’ lack of a human-like immune system, they were not capable of withstanding the diseases Americans are immune to. A virus that gives a human no more than small itchy bumps on their skin, will burn a Martian’s body “Black and dries them out to brittle flakes,” (Bradbury, 50). It seems that Bradbury purposely paralleled the Martians’ gruesome chicken pox epidemic to the spread of small pox among the Native Americans, for the purpose of showing us how such indigenous and complex civilizations can fall so easily into the hands of a colonizing power. A race builds itself for millions of years, refines itself, erects cities like those out there, does everything it can to give itself respect and beauty, and then… dies,” (Bradbury, 51). The failure of our human capability to learn from past experiences leads us to believe that we may never be able to harmoniously co-exist in the environment with different cultures and species alike. With the near-extinction of the Martian race, human inhabitance on Mars proceeds to quickly take over.
Although the first wave of settlers came in small lonely groups, the second wave of settlers ventures out to the newly colonized planet arriving by the dozens, flocking to the new world “Like drums beating in the night,” (Bradbury, 78), and “Locusts, swarming and settling in blooms of rosy smoke,” (Bradbury, 78). By the end of the sixth month, the human population count has advanced to ninety thousand, an exponential amount of growth in comparison to the few settlers that originally came to live on Mars.
The humans’ portrayal in the form of a parasitic invasion seems to imply their knack for quick and immediate infestation to a new frontier. The story is representative of the rapid speed at which humans have conquered indigenous cultures in the past, such as the colonization of the Native Americans, or Cortez’s conquest of the Aztecs. With these past experiences to look back on, Bradbury is foreshadowing what proceeding generations may be capable of with a far more advanced society and mindset. While the first settlers came to Mars looking to escape America, the second groups of settlers were looking to bring America back to Mars.
Here, Mars has given the humans a chance to start anew and create a colony based upon the Martian way of life. But instead, they choose to duplicate the civilization they are already familiar with, America. On arrival to Mars, the new wave of settlers are depicted as “Steel-toothed carnivores,” (Bradbury, 78). Rather than embrace the oddity of Mars’s new environment, the Americans choose to “Beat the strange world into a shape that is familiar to the eye,” (Bradbury, 78). After just six months, we begin to see the ultimate result of postcolonial dominance on Mars.
No longer is the land a barren wonderland, but towns filled with “Flower pots and chintz and pans,” (Bradbury, 78). In the final step of complete colonization over the Martian society, Bradbury seems to be touching upon the subject of the right and wrong reasons for human colonization. What we, as humans, fail to recognize is the ability to appreciate other cultures and societies for their differences. Humans seem almost incapable of adapting to new surroundings without destroying what they are uncomfortable or unfamiliar with.
As we begin to take a look into our past colonial wrongdoings, we see that precautions must be taken to prevent future generations from executing the same mistakes past generations have The short stories of “June 2001” and “February 2002” in The Martian Chronicles heavily advocate the theme of postcolonial supremacy in Bradbury’s visionary world of Mars and its Martian society. What begins as small expeditions to visit the outer-worldly frontier soon turns into a movement of American colonization all over the planet.
With the spread of chicken pox, post colonization makes its way into the world of the Martians through massive human migration from Earth and their re-creation of the planet’s surroundings. The prevalent motive of human colonization in The Martian Chronicles proves to us that Bradbury’s novel serves as a science fictional forewarning to all of what may become of American colonization and enterprise. Though our history helps us to grow from the past, it may also serve as a forewarning of the potential destruction we hold for the future. Works Cited Bradbury, Ray. The Martian Chronicles. New York: Bantam, 1979. Print
Cite this Science Fiction Ray Bradbury Essay
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