28 pages 56 minutes read

Ray Bradbury

Dark They Were, and Golden Eyed

Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1949

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Literary Devices


Personification is a literary device that ascribes human qualities to nonhuman things. The Martian landscape is so foreign and strange to Harry Bittering that he thinks of the planet like a person, describing it as if it had agency of its own. After the nuclear bomb hits New York and the colony becomes stranded on Mars, Harry reflects that “this was the moment that Mars had waited for. Now it would eat them” (634). While he knows there are no Martians left on the planet to cause them harm, Harry feels as if the planet itself is antagonistic toward the Earth people and wants to devour them. Later, Harry speculates to his wife, “[M]aybe we’re children too. At least to Mars” (640). Again, there is a sense that the planet is perceiving them in some way, and that the changes that it is inflicting on them are active and intentional. This is in keeping with the way the story depicts The Meaning of Names; the Martian language seems to emanate from the landscape rather than merely describe it, suggesting that the planet and its features have personalities of their own.