Dark They Were, and Golden Eyed


Ray Bradbury

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Themes and Colors
Familiarity and Perception Theme Icon
Memory, Identity, and Language Theme Icon
Change and Resistance Theme Icon
Colonization, Industry, and Leisure Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Dark They Were, and Golden Eyed, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Familiarity and Perception

In “Dark They Were, and Golden Eyed,” the new settlers on Mars, including Harry Bittering and his family, are deeply unnerved by the Martian landscape, viewing it as alien and unnatural. In contrast, the familiar crops, architecture, and accessories they have imported from Earth are considered natural and therefore comforting. However, as their connection with Earth wanes, Martian influence gradually pervades every aspect of the Bitterings’ lives. What is Martian begins to seem natural to…

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Memory, Identity, and Language

Throughout “Dark They Were, and Golden Eyed,” the new settlers gradually lose touch with their memories of Earth as they assimilate to life on Mars. From the naming and renaming of Martian geography to the settlers’ slow adoption of Martian language and physical characteristics, the story probes the extent to which change is potentially destructive toward identity. This is mirrored by the ubiquitous presence of the ruins of previous Martian civilizations, which are mysterious and…

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Change and Resistance

Throughout the story, the identity of the settlers of Mars, as well as the landscape itself, is constantly changing. At first, the settlers are resistant to these changes and cling to the remnants of their old lives and ties to Earth. However, the more time they spend on Mars and the further removed they become from their circumstances on Earth, the less resistance they show against the encroaching landscape and accompanying changes—eventually going so far…

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Colonization, Industry, and Leisure

In “Dark They Were, and Golden Eyed,” the settlers are initially industrious farmers, working the land and extracting resources from it. After their ties to Earth are severed, Harry Bittering works determinedly at constructing a rocket from scratch, despite the seeming futility of his plan. And when new settlers arrive years after the initial settlers have been altered by the Martian environment, they, too, begin setting up industrious plans to resettle and reclaim the area…

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