What is the theme in "The Silent Towns"?

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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One of the dominant themes in "The Silent Towns" by Ray Bradbury that also extends to the broader context of The Martian Chronicles is the theme of loneliness.  Bradbury uses the details of the empty buildings, shops, homes, barren streets to emphasize the complete isolation felt by Walter Gripp.  Gripp, a lonely miner, desperately searches for any sign of humanity, and more particularly, for a wife. 

Gripp believes his dreams have been fulfilled when finally answering a phone call by Genevieve Selsor; however, Bradbury's story of longing and isolation swiftly becomes ironic as the two characters discover they absolutely cannot stand each other.  Bradbury reinforces his theme of loneliness and isolation through the characters' mutual dislike, suggesting in the end that perhaps no company at all is better than bad company.