Marionettes, Inc.

by

Ray Bradbury

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Business Card Symbol Analysis

Business Card Symbol Icon

The business card for Marionettes, Inc. that Braling gives to Smith symbolizes the two men’s impulse to solve complicated, delicate interpersonal problems with a technological quick fix. Both men are more willing to spend eight thousand dollars to sidestep their marital problems than they are to simply talk openly with their respective wives and get to the root of the issue. The business card itself is ominously worded, underscoring the danger and uncertainty in turning blindly to technology to solve one’s personal problems. The card reads, “MARIONETTES, INC. Duplicate self or friends; new humanoid plastic 1990 models, guaranteed against all physical wear. From $7,600 to our $15,000 deluxe model.” The other side of the card states, “Clients must have a mold made of their body and a color index check of their eyes, lips, hair, skin, etc. Clients must expect to wait for two months until their model is finished. […] Marionettes, Inc., is two years old and has a fine record of satisfied customers behind it. Our motto is ‘No Strings Attached.’ Address: 43 South Wesley Drive.” The demands placed on the customer are manifold—committing to complete secrecy, agreeing to commit a felony by owning a marionette, and allowing an illegal company to have full access to every single intimate detail about oneself. When reading all of these requirements, Smith simply says to himself that two months is “Not so long” to wait. Paradoxically, the motto of Marionettes, Inc. is “No Strings Attached,” but by design, marionettes are puppets that are controlled from above via several strings. This inconsistency suggests that there are, in fact, many “strings attached” (complications and requirements) when it comes to solving one’s problems with a marionette.

Business Card Quotes in Marionettes, Inc.

The Marionettes, Inc. quotes below all refer to the symbol of Business Card. 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:
The Cost of Technology Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Simon and Schuster edition of Marionettes, Inc. published in 1949.
“Marionettes, Inc.” Quotes

MARIONETTES, INC.

Duplicate self or friends; new humanoid plastic 1990 models, guaranteed against all physical wear. From $7,600 to our $15,000 deluxe model.

Related Characters: Braling, Smith, Braling Two
Related Symbols: Business Card
Page Number: 237
Explanation and Analysis:

“Thank you […] You don’t know what this means. Just a little respite. A night or so, once a month even. My wife loves me so much she can’t bear to have me gone an hour. I love her dearly, you know, but remember the old poem: ‘Love will fly if held too lightly, love will die if held too tightly.’ I just want her to relax her grip a little bit.”

Related Characters: Smith (speaker), Braling, Nettie Smith
Related Symbols: Business Card
Page Number: 238
Explanation and Analysis:
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Business Card Symbol Timeline in Marionettes, Inc.

The timeline below shows where the symbol Business Card appears in Marionettes, Inc.. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
“Marionettes, Inc.”
The Cost of Technology Theme Icon
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Secrecy and Deception Theme Icon
...Braling Two to give Smith his card. Performing a “magic trick,” Braling Two produces a business card that reads, “MARIONETTES, INC. Duplicate self or friends; new humanoid plastic 1990 models, guaranteed against... (full context)
The Cost of Technology Theme Icon
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Secrecy and Deception Theme Icon
...Tentatively, Smith asks if he could possibly purchase a marionette too. Braling hands Smith the business card , and Smith turns it around in his hands, thanking his friend profusely. He says... (full context)
The Cost of Technology Theme Icon
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Secrecy and Deception Theme Icon
Walking down the street, Smith smiles to himself and begins to whistle quietly, business card in hand. The card reads, “Clients must be pledged to secrecy, for while an act... (full context)
The Cost of Technology Theme Icon
Smith thinks to himself that he doesn’t wish to seem “ungrateful.” Turning the business card over, Smith reads, “Marionettes, Inc. is two years old and has a fine record of... (full context)
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Secrecy and Deception Theme Icon
Crying, Smith suddenly feels like he wants to rip up the business card and forget about the marionette altogether. When he moves to reach the card, however, his... (full context)