Other Essays/H.G. Wells in comparison to Bradbury term paper 3897

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Style is one of the most important aspects of any artist. B.B. King's playing, Poe's gloom,

and Salvador Dali's abstractness are all part of their individual style. It helps the average

person to identify the artist, whether it may be a musician, writer or painter. Although

Bradbury and Wells may both been writing science fiction, they each had their own style.

Bradbury and Wells have many of the same stylistic features, but they also have

contrasting traits in their writing. Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury and The War of the

Worlds by H.G. Wells will be used to compare and contrast their styles.

The theme of human perseverance can be seen in both books. In The War of the

Worlds, the Martians had destroyed much of the land, and our hero experienced many

death life threatening situations, but he still survived. Not only did he survive, but

humankind as a whole made it through the war. In the end of The Martian Chronicles

humankind blows itself up in an atomic war. Much of our Earth is laid to waste and made

uninhabitable due to radiation. However, a few prepared citizens were ready for this and

fled earth before the holocaust took place. They lived on to become the new Martians and

last of the humans. Along with the theme of human perseverance, The Martian Chronicles

also presents the contrasting theme of human destruction. The humans came to Mars,

where they changed the face of the planet. They destroyed what it was and made it into

something of their liking, something that was familiar to them. Destruction is also shown

through the atomic war that ruined Earth, blowing the world up with atomic bombs was

an incredible act of destruction, and it demonstrates just how far humanity can go.

These books not only shared a common theme, but also a common topic. Mars is

present in both, though the writers' views differ. Wells saw the Martians as warlike and

violent. They came to Earth armed with heat-rays and tripods, ready to kill any human in

sight. The Martians of Wells took on more of a monster image while the Martians of

Bradbury were very humanlike. In the opening chapters of The Martian Chronicles we are

introduced to very humanlike Martians. They converse like we do, have family

relationships similar to ours, and they even dream. Bradbury's and Wells' Martians do have

something in common though, they both kill humans. There is yet another contrasting

topic, The War of the Worlds was about Mars conquering us, while Martian Chronicles

was about us conquering Mars.

Moving from topic to sentence structure, one sees more differences. Almost fifty

years passed between the publishing of The War of the Worlds and The Martian

Chronicles, so the style of the time was different, and it shows. The Martian Chronicles

contains short, consice, simple sentences. For example, "The Martians were there-in the

canal-reflected in the water." This sentence is typical of the sentence structure in The

Martian Chronicles, short, concise, and simple. However the sentence structure in The

War of the Worlds is long, descriptive, and prolixic. Here is a sentence from The War of

the Worlds, "After getting this sudden lesson in the power of terrestrial weapons, the

Martians retreated to their original position upon Horsell Common; and in their haste, and

encumbered with the debris of their smashed companion, they no doubt overlooked many

such a stray and negligible victim as myself." They difference in the two is easily

discernible. Bradbury's sentence took a little less then one line, on the other hand Wells'

sentence was five lines long. That is not to say all of Bradbury's sentences are short, or all

of Wells' long, but on the average that was their sentence structure.

Related to the sentence structure is the word selection and prolixity. While The

Martian Chronicles may not contain all the "ten dollar" words of The War of the Worlds,

it certainly does not mean there was no description. The description in The Martian

Chronicles uses more familiar words that are easier for the average reader to

understand,"His ear to the ground, he could hear the feet of the years ahead moving at a

distance, and he imagined the seeds he had placed today sprouting up with green and

taking hold on the sky, pushing out branch after branch, until Mars was an afternoon

forest, Mars was a shining orchard." While this sentence may not be the typical of The

Martian Chronicles in length, the word selection is much like the rest of the book. The

War of the Worlds uses much more prolixic description. The sentences are longer and

usually more descriptive,"I felt the first inkling of a thing that presently grew quite clear in

my mind, that oppressed me for many days, a sense of dethronement, a persuasion that I

was no longer a master, but an animal among the animals, under the Martian heel." Word

selection is another contrast between the two books from the simplicity of The Martian

Chronicles to the prolixity of The War of the Worlds.

The point of view was also different. The Martian Chronicles was written in the

third person, with many different stories being presented to make up the whole. The War

of the Worlds was mainly in the first person, with a little dip into second person as he

narrates his brother's ordeal.

Another area of difference was the logical order of events. In The War of the

Worlds, the reader follows the hero from the beginning of the invasion to the final death of

the Martians. Each event takes place one after the other, and is a continuous narrative.

However, the logical order of events in The Martian Chronicles is a little different. The

Martian Chronicles tells the stories of many different people that are involved in the

colonization and growth of Mars. The chapter titles provide us with a date, so the reader

may know the time that the chapter takes place. If it was not for the date, the logical order

of events would be difficult to follow for some stories. Some could be taking place at the

same time, or a scene in a later chapter could have taken place before a scene from a

different chapter. However, the dates provide us with sequence and gives it some

semblance of order.

Both books share a lack of extraneous situations. The Martian Chronicles seems at

first to be all extraneous situations, but after reading the book the reader realizes that it is

all those small stories that make up the whole. In The War of the Worlds there is a brief

dip into an extraneous situation when the narrator talks about his brother. The story has

nothing to do with the main plot line of our hero's survival, and it is never brought up


The climaxes of the two novels are also contrasting and similar. They contrast in

that the The Martian Chronicles, the humans lose their world and are made into citizens of

another planet. In The War of the Worlds, the Martians are the ones that suffer the loss of

the war and their lives. However, both books share a common trait. Humans survive and

overcome the disasters that have befallen them.

In comparing and contrasting the two books, the time difference is evident. The

War of the Worlds shows humans saving the Earth, and The Martian Chronicles shows

humans destroying the Earth. While there were many similar traits between the two books,

there were also many contrasting traits. The Martian Chronicles and The War of the

Worlds provided a foundation for the writing of science fiction, a genre that was in it's

infancy during the publication of these books.


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