Dark They Were
You Must Respect the land you live on”- Dark They Were and Golden Eyed) In “Dark They Were and Golden-Eyed” by Ray Bradbury, Bradbury uses an extensive amount of imagery and symbolism to illustrate the consequences of not acknowledging your surroundings. Thus the theme can be argued as “You must respect the land you live on”. This premise is evident in their initial intention when the bittering’s first arrived on Mars. They assumed that they could just colonize Mars as opposed to adapting.
However, later in the story it was revealed that against their will they had to adapt and modify their lifestyle. Bradbury presents imagery that causes the reader to analyze the changes that the land had upon the Bittering’s. He uses dialogue to show that the changes were becoming permanent. The first example of imagery that supports the theme indicates that a change was about to occur. The change transpired within the environment first, foreshadowing that it would just be a matter of time before the Bittering’s experience a change within them.
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An example of this environmental change was when Harry notice that the blossoms were different. “I can’t tell how. An extra petal, a leaf, something, the colour, the smell”. (17) This imagery symbolizes the unconscious state of the rest of the family adapting to their habitat. Because most the family was unaware of the change in the environment , it meant they were starting to get accustomed to the land, as if the land possessed power of its on. In this piece of imagery one can clearly see that the atmosphere is influential because it says “Wind blew as if to flake away their identities” (3).
This represents that as the wind blew and the longer they were a habitant on Mars the more their identities disintegrated. Which brings me to my next point; it exemplifies Harrys disrespect for the land “power” of the land. When Harry called the rest of the family they weren’t able to see the change because they were adapting. However because Harry identified the change with the blossoms, it can be argued that he was refusing to accept and respect the land.
The next example of imagery shows that due to the bittering’s negligence to respect their land, the level of change would become more intense especially for Mr. Bittering. The use of the Martian word ‘loort” (30) by Mr. Bittering meant that not only was the change intensifying but the lands “power” was prevailing. Another example that shows the land having directly influencing them is when the family eyes began to turn yellow. (35) Shortly after when the family swam in the canal one can see that the effects of the land on them were permanent.
The kids wanted to change their names to Martian names and against his understanding Mr. Bittering’s agreed. This agreement symbolizes how given enough time in one atmosphere it would start to rub off on a person. In conclusion, because Harry’s intent was to take over mars instead of respecting what has already been established, the environment overtook his body. The rest of the family had already accepted the land and began adapting to the changes mars brought among them, whereas Harry who fought against the inevitable.
This just goes to show that sometimes as human beings we try so hard not to be like something or someone and in our efforts not to be we turn into a splitting image of the person or thing. In Mr. Bittering case he refused to eat the Martian food, found changes in the environment, and even tried to build a space shuttle to return to earth just to keep from becoming a Martian. Maybe if he would have not done all that, he would have remained human. This story uses an immense amount of details through imagery and symbolism to show that “You must respect the land you live on”, you cannot just come to a place and take over.