30 pages 1 hour read

Ray Bradbury

The Other Foot

Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1951

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Important Quotes

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“What’s a white man? I never seen one.”

(Paragraph 8)

This line establishes the motif of vision and seeing as it lays out the foundation of the story’s conflict. The children of Mars have never seen white people and have never known racial violence—only the adults have brought it with them.

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“‘Lynch him?’ Everyone laughed. Mr. Brown slapped his knee. ‘Why, bless you, child, no! We’re going to shake his hand. Ain’t we, everyone?’”

(Paragraph 42)

This quote indicates the Martians’ initial attitude toward the newcomers. They expect to meet the white man on equal, friendly terms. It’s only when Willie gets involved that their attitude changes.

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“‘Willie, that ain’t no Christian way to talk.’

‘I’m not feeling Christian,’ he said savagely, gripping the wheel. ‘I’m just feeling mean…You remember? Or you got a memory that’s short like the others?’”

(Paragraphs 52-53)

Willie references the racial violence he and others endured on Earth, and emphasizes the importance of memory in his quest for revenge. This is sharply contrasted with the Christian value of forgiveness that Hattie will be promoting by the end of the story.