The Martian Chronicles

by Ray Bradbury

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Student Question

In "The Million Year Picnic," how did the family see themselves as Martians?

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In Ray Bradbury's short sci-fi story "The Million Year Picnic" a mom, dad, and three boys pile aboard a rocket ship headed for the planet Mars. There, the family plan to go fishing on the red planet. As the rocket takes off, everyone's excited at the forthcoming trip. The three boys are especially interested, and want to find out what a real-life Martian looks like.

As the story progresses, it becomes increasingly obvious that the so-called fishing trip is just a ruse. Young Timothy, one of the three boys, senses that the family is going to be spending quite some time on Mars. Such suspicions are confirmed when dad tells the kids that they are heading to Mars in order to start a new life, to get away from all the hypocrisy and destructiveness which characterize life on Earth.

Initially, the boys are upset to hear the news that they have left Earth for good. But eventually, they warm to the idea when their dad gives them the option of picking a city where the family will settle. Once this is done, the whole family go out on a fishing trip, as planned. It's then that the boys look down into the water and see their reflections. Their dad promised to show them some Martians, and he has. Now that they've settled on Mars, the whole family are now a family of Martians.

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