Who are the main characters of the story "If I Forget Thee, O Earth..." by Arthur C. Clarke?  

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Clarke's story has two main characters: Marvin, a ten-year-old boy, and his father.

Marvin is a sensitive boy who lives underground on the moon with other survivors of a nuclear holocaust that happened on earth. He is too young to have ever been on earth, so he has no memories of it. He is excited to be on the surface of the moon and reacts in a positive way to its beauties. Marvin is most excited, however, to see the earth hanging in the sky, yet he also feels the frustration of what has happened to it. He thinks:

Why could they not return? It seemed so peaceful beneath those lines of marching cloud. Then Marvin, his eyes no longer blinded by the glare, saw that the portion of the disk that should have been in darkness was gleaming faintly with an evil phosphorescence: and he remembered. He was looking upon the funeral pyre of a world— upon the radioactive aftermath of Armageddon.

Marvin is saddened. His father, too, regrets what has been done to the planet, which he remembers living on. He finds it of supreme importance to transmit to Marvin what it was like and the dream of humans returning to it hundreds of years in the future, when it is once again inhabitable. Marvin realizes that:

Yet one day—how far ahead?—his children's children would return to claim their heritage.

Marvin knows that he will transmit the same story to his children that his father told them. He is a character who represents hope for a future he will not see. He and his father are not cynical and despairing but full of optimism despite all that has happened.

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The main characters of Arthur C. Clarke's story "If I Forget Thee, O Earth..." are Marvin and his father. In the story, Marvin and his father are revealed to be living on the moon. When Marvin sees an "earthrise" for the first time, he can see the glow from the radioactivity on the side of the earth that would normally be in the shadows. His father explains to him that earth had been destroyed by nuclear war and that, aside from the colony of people living on the moon, there are no humans left.

While he has heard much of this before, for Martin, viewing the earthrise makes all of this information hit home. He is saddened by the fact that he will never be able to walk on or experience the earth again and makes the realization that the earth will not be able to be visited, let alone inhabited, for many generations. He now understands that the struggle for the survival of the human race rests on the lunar colony.

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