28 pages 56 minutes read

Ray Bradbury

Dark They Were, and Golden Eyed

Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1949

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Important Quotes

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“They built a small white cottage and ate good breakfasts there, but the fear was never gone. It lay with Mr. Bittering and Mrs. Bittering, a third unbidden partner at every midnight talk, at every dawn awakening.”

(Page 632)

The personification of fear as an “unbidden partner” shows how it comes between Mr. and Mrs. Bittering, like a physical presence lying in their bed and intruding on their marriage. The description suggests that the couple is driven apart by the unfamiliarity of the new land, and perhaps by the different reactions that each of them has to it.

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“He wanted to strike Laura, cry, ‘No, you’re lying! The rockets will come back!’ Instead, he stroked Laura’s head against him and said, ‘The rockets will get through someday.”

(Page 633)

After news comes that an atomic bomb has hit New York, Harry is inwardly devasted but calmly tells his family that they will keep on living. His matter-of-fact and practical dialogue is markedly different from the emotional tone of his thought, which is repetitive and exclamatory. Harry’s desire to keep up appearances is evident in how he maintains decorum in front of his family.

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“He perspired. He glanced about. No one watching. He removed his tie. Pretty bold, he thought. First your coat off, now your tie. He hung it neatly on a peach tree he had imported as a sapling from Massachusetts.”

(Page 634)

Harry removes his tie to be more comfortable while working outdoors in the hot Martian climate, but in doing so he also breaks from the custom of how men are expected to dress. The removal of the tie symbolizes that he is slowly adapting to life on Mars and leaving behind Earth’s culture. It foreshadows the Bitterings and other settlers’ ultimate adoption of a “Martian” way of life, developing the theme of