Fear And Change In Ray Bradbury's Dark They Were And Golden-Eyed

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Fear and Change in Ray Bradbury’s “Dark They Were and Golden-Eyed”
In an interview with The Paris Review in 2010, Ray Bradbury once stated that “science fiction is the fiction of ideas. Ideas excite me, and as soon as I get excited, the adrenaline gets going…”, showcasing Bradbury’s passion for science fiction, which is further exhibited through the fact that he has written nearly 600 short stories. Although Ray Bradbury is known for his popular novel, Farenheit 451, many tend to overlook these numerous short stories, one of which is a personal favorite of mine—“Dark They Were and Golden-Eyed”. First published under the title “The Naming of Names” in the science fiction magazine Thrilling Wonder Stories in 1949, the story’s title was later
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Bradbury describes “Martian hills that time had worn” and “old cities” in the distance, a scene much similar to what we see around us (Bradbury 138). Within the next few paragraphs Bradbury juxtaposes the Bittering’s quaint new home on the Martian planet; “they built a little white cottage and ate good breakfasts there” and even has Mr. Bittering working in his garden on a hot, Mars day (Bradbury 138). Laruen Weiner, in her article The Dark and Starry Eyes of Ray Bradbury explores this very skill when she discusses how “Bradbury blazed his own trail when he developed a way of starting off with the familiar human scenes, then warping them” (Weiner 82). “Dark They Were and Golden-Eyed” does just this as Bradbury develops the scenes of human familiarity, all the while being warped by Bradbury’s constant juxtaposition of more sinister scenes of the sinister Martian environment the Bittering’s are immersed in. The setting is one of apprehension and foreboding. As the story progress, the tense situation surrounding Harry Bittering and his family creates more conflict and illustrates the way that humans often respond to their environment, particularly when fear and change are
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