The Martian Chronicles

by Ray Bradbury

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Topics for Discussion

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1. What elements of the book make Mars seem realistic? What elements make it seem fantastic?

2. Why do most of the settlers choose to return to an Earth ravaged by nuclear war?

3. Do you sympathize with the Martians when they react with hostility toward the earliest delegates from Earth? Why or why not?

4. Why do you think Spender feels compelled to kill his companions in "And the Moon Be Still As Bright"? How feasible is his plan of slowing—and eventually halting—the space program? Why, despite all that he has heard, is the captain willing to kill Spender? Is this story a turning point in The Martian Chronicles?

5. What is the significance of the names given to towns, rivers, and cemeteries in "The Naming of Names"?

6. Who is the most fully drawn Martian character in the book? Who is the most fully drawn human character? Are the two characters at all similar?

7. Discuss the role of nostalgia in "The Third Expedition" and "The Martian." What is Bradbury saying about people's attachment to the past in these stories?

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