Dystopian Society In Ray Bradbury's Illustrated Man

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In “The Visitor”, one of the short stories in Ray Bradbury’s Illustrated Man, the reader is immediately introduced to the millions of miles separating Earth from the empty, isolated dystopian setting of Mars by a group of men exiled because of a contagious fatal disease called “blood rust” and the wish to return to Earth. The reader gets the feeling that Mars is like a prison for the men banished there. They are dropped off by rocket to live in tents with only a ration of food for the remainder of their lives. The setting is sunny and sandy, with caves, cliffs, ancient ruins, and an often mentioned dead sea. It feels very uninteresting, especially in contrast to Earth. There is no scenery, no entertainment, no joy. One victim of the disease, Saul Williams, repeatedly thinks of how much he misses Earth. “It was a quiet…show more content…
When Mark first arrives he is pleased to share his supernatural gift with Saul simply to make Saul happy. However, he foreshadows events to come when he tells Saul, “Only I knew I was really genuine, but I didn’t let anybody know. It was safer not to let it get around to much” (196). Sure enough, after Saul’s initial excitement over the possibilities of what his new friend’s telepathic ability can give to him, he becomes anxious about the other men finding out and having to share. Saul is crazy with possession of Mark. However, Leonard Mark refuses to be anyone’s property. “…I am a free agent. I don’t belong to anybody” (201). Saul takes Mark to a cave to hide him, but the others are not far behind. After some discussion with the exiled men, the group cannot agree to sharing his talent, each wanting him all to himself. Ultimately, consumed with greed, a struggle between the men takes place and Mark is the victim of the men’s fight for control over him, causing each to lose what they desire
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