Dark They Were, and Golden Eyed

by

Ray Bradbury

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Wind and Mist Symbol Analysis

Wind and Mist Symbol Icon

From the beginning of the story, wind and mist are representative of the uncanny and the unknown on Mars. When he first disembarks onto the planet, Harry Bittering is immediately struck by the wind sweeping across the plains, reflecting that “the wind blew as if to flake away their identities. At any moment the Martian air might draw his soul from him, as marrow comes from a white bone.” Later, when connection with Earth has been severed by nuclear war, Harry is overcome by fear of the change that is embodied by the wind now that “Earth people” have been “left to the strangeness of Mars, the cinnamon dusts and wine airs.” He tries by any means available to escape back to Earth, worrying that “if we stay here, we’ll all change. The air. Don’t you smell it? Something in the air. A Martian virus, maybe; some seed, or a pollen.” Ultimately, the wind is representative of the Martian environment as a whole, something pervasive and inescapable that spreads gradual change.

The wind also symbolizes the effect that time has on history, slowly wearing away the civilization of former inhabitants until all that is left is empty buildings and sand. One of the Bittering children remarks, “I hear the wind. The sand hits my window. I get scared. And I see those towns way up in the mountains where the Martians lived a long time ago.” The wind brings not just change but slow annihilation, grinding down even huge cities to dust. In this respect, the wind has both generative and destructive capacities, symbolizing both life and death, but most of all change.

Wind and Mist Quotes in Dark They Were, and Golden Eyed

The Dark They Were, and Golden Eyed quotes below all refer to the symbol of Wind and Mist. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Familiarity and Perception Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Avon Books edition of Dark They Were, and Golden Eyed published in 1990.
Dark They Were, and Golden-Eyed Quotes

The wind blew as if to flake away their identities. At any moment the Martian air might draw his soul from him, as marrow comes from a white bone. He felt submerged in a chemical that could dissolve his intellect and burn away his past.

Related Characters: Harry Bittering
Related Symbols: Wind and Mist
Page Number: 284
Explanation and Analysis:

Earth people left to the strangeness of Mars, the cinnamon dusts and wine airs, to be baked like gingerbread shapes in Martian summers, put into harvested storage by Martian winters. What would happen to him, the others? This was the moment Mars had waited for. Now it would eat them.

Related Characters: Harry Bittering
Related Symbols: Wind and Mist
Page Number: 287
Explanation and Analysis:

“If we stay here, we’ll all change. The air. Don’t you smell it? Something in the air. A Martian virus, maybe; some seed, or a pollen.”

Related Characters: Harry Bittering (speaker)
Related Symbols: Wind and Mist
Page Number: 289
Explanation and Analysis:

Lying abed, Mr. Bittering felt his bones shifted, shaped, melted like gold. His wife, lying beside him, was dark from many sunny afternoons. Dark she was, and golden-eyed, burnt almost black by the sun, sleeping, and the children metallic in their beds, and the wind roaring forlorn and changing through the old peach trees, the violet grass, shaking out green rose petals.

Related Characters: Harry Bittering, Cora Bittering
Related Symbols: Gold, Wind and Mist
Page Number: 291
Explanation and Analysis:
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Wind and Mist Symbol Timeline in Dark They Were, and Golden Eyed

The timeline below shows where the symbol Wind and Mist appears in Dark They Were, and Golden Eyed. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Dark They Were, and Golden-Eyed
Familiarity and Perception Theme Icon
Change and Resistance Theme Icon
Colonization, Industry, and Leisure Theme Icon
...he cannot explain why, Harry has an immediate and visceral reaction to the Martian environment—the wind blowing across the plains, the unsettling atmosphere, the old ruins. He impulsively suggests that the... (full context)