Marionettes, Inc.


Ray Bradbury

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Themes and Colors
The Cost of Technology Theme Icon
Control Theme Icon
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Secrecy and Deception Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Marionettes, Inc., which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

The Cost of Technology

In Ray Bradbury’s “Marionettes, Inc.,” thirty-five-year-old Braling buys a “marionette” (a lifelike android, not a traditional puppet with strings) to temporarily distract his controlling wife, Mrs. Braling, so that he can have a little time away from her. Although the ultra-realistic marionette seems like a creative fix for Braling’s troubled marriage (and later, for that of his good friend Smith), things soon go terribly wrong. Although the story illustrates that technology can provide…

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In “Marionettes, Inc.,” two friends, Braling and Smith, are unhappy with their respective marriages and decide that marionettes—extraordinarily lifelike androids—will solve their marital problems. With the marionettes standing in for them once in a while, both men think that they will get a much needed break from their wives, and their wives will never suspect a thing. Braling’s wife is too controlling (and would never agree to give her husband a little space), while…

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Love and Marriage

At the center of Ray Bradbury’s “Marionettes, Inc.” are two deeply unhappy marriages. The introduction of the marionettes (the extremely lifelike androids that stand in for specific people) complicates both marriages, as many characters use a marionette to evade their spouse. The story uses the shortcomings in Braling’s marriage to the controlling Mrs. Braling, as well as his friend Smith’s marriage to the clingy Nettie Smith, to highlight why these marriages are…

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Secrecy and Deception

In “Marionettes, Inc.,” the protagonist, Braling, illegally buys a lifelike android (called a marionette) so that he can have a temporary escape from his overbearing, controlling wife, Mrs. Braling. By setting up the marionette (Braling Two) in his place, Braling thinks he will be free to travel for a month without his wife even knowing. Braling’s good friend Smith has a similar problem with his own wife, Nettie, though she…

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