The Long Rain

by

Ray Bradbury

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Pickard Character Analysis

Pickard is one of the three American military men who survives the rocket crash and the monster’s attack. Pickard and his remaining companions—the lieutenant and Simmons—miserably trample through the Venusian jungle in search of a Sun Dome. Pickard is the most pessimistic of the three men, and his sharp comments and dark, chilling laughter increase until it’s clear that he’s slipped into insanity. Just before he does so, though, he recounts a childhood memory of a bully in his class pinching him every five minutes, all day long, every school day. The intermittent pinching, which he now likens to the rhythmic and persistent raindrops on his head, eventually made him so agitated that he brutally attacked and almost killed the bully. This bubbling up of nearly inhuman madness mirrors his mental breakdown in the jungle. Unable to handle the incessant raindrops anymore, he screams and fires his gun six times into the sky, but then goes quiet. When the lieutenant and Simmons shine their hand lamp onto him, they see that his pupils are dilated and that his mouth is open and turned upwards, filling with water. He proves unresponsive, and Simmons realize that Pickard has gone insane and is now drowning himself by breathing in the rain, just like General Mendt did. To put Pickard out of his misery, Simmons shoots him.

Pickard Quotes in The Long Rain

The The Long Rain quotes below are all either spoken by Pickard or refer to Pickard. 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:
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Simon & Schuster edition of The Long Rain published in 1981.
The Long Rain Quotes

The two men sat together in the rain. Behind them sat two other men who were wet and tired and slumped like clay that was melting.

Related Characters: Lieutenant, Simmons, Pickard, Unnamed Man
Page Number: 78
Explanation and Analysis:

“Who could [sleep]? Who has? When? How many nights have we slept? Thirty nights, thirty days! Who can sleep with rain slamming their head, banging away… I’d give just anything for a hat. Anything at all, just so it wouldn’t hit my head any more.”

Related Characters: Lieutenant, Simmons, Pickard, Unnamed Man
Page Number: 80
Explanation and Analysis:

“Chinese water cure. Remember the old torture? Rope you against a wall. Drop one drop of water on your head every half hour. You go crazy waiting for the next one. Well, that’s Venus, but on a big scale. We’re not made for water. You can’t sleep, you can’t breathe right, and you’re crazy from just being soggy.”

Related Characters: Lieutenant, Simmons, Pickard, Unnamed Man
Page Number: 80
Explanation and Analysis:

A yellow house, round and bright as the sun. A house fifteen feet high by one hundred feet in diameter, in which was warmth and quiet and hot food and freedom from rain. And in the center of the Sun Dome, of course, was a sun. A small floating free globe of yellow fire, drifting in a space at the top of the building where you could look at it from where you sat, smoking or reading a book or drinking your hot chocolate crowned with marshmallow dollops. There it would be, the yellow sun, just the size of the Earth sun, and it was warm and continuous, and the rain world of Venus would be forgotten as long as they stayed in that house and idled their time.

Related Characters: Lieutenant, Simmons, Pickard, Unnamed Man
Related Symbols: Sun Dome
Page Number: 80-81
Explanation and Analysis:

They walked over to the body, thinking that perhaps they could still save the man’s life. They couldn’t believe that there wasn’t some way to help the man. It was the natural act of men who have not accepted death until they have touched it and turned it over and made plans to bury it or leave it there for the jungle to bury in an hour of quick growth.

Page Number: 84
Explanation and Analysis:

The Sun Dome was empty and dark. There was no synthetic yellow sun floating in a high gaseous whisper at the center of the blue ceiling. There was no food waiting. It was cold as a vault. And through a thousand holes which had been newly punctured in the ceiling water streamed, the rain fell down, soaking into the thick rugs and the heavy modern furniture and splashing on the glass tables. The jungle was growing up like a moss in the room, on top of the bookcases and the divans. The rain slashed through the holes and fell upon the three men’s faces.

Related Characters: Lieutenant, Simmons, Pickard, The Venusians
Related Symbols: Sun Dome
Page Number: 87
Explanation and Analysis:

“I remember when I was in school a bully used to sit in back of me and pinch me and pinch me and pinch me every five minutes, all day long. He did that for weeks and months. My arms were sore and black and blue all the time. And I thought I’d go crazy from being pinched. One day I must have gone a little mad from being hurt and hurt, and I turned around and took a metal trisquare I used in mechanical drawing and I almost killed that bastard. […] I kept yelling, ‘Why don’t he leave me alone? Why don’t he leave me alone?’ […] But what do I do now? Who do I hit, who do I tell to lay off, stop bothering me, this damn rain, like the pinching, always on you, that’s all you hear, that’s all you feel!”

Related Characters: Pickard (speaker), Lieutenant, Simmons
Page Number: 89
Explanation and Analysis:

“Stop it, stop it!” Pickard screamed. He fired off his gun six times at the night sky. In the flashes of powdery illumination they could see armies of raindrops, suspended as in a vast motionless amber, for an instant, hesitating as if shocked by the explosion, fifteen billion droplets, fifteen billion tears, fifteen billion ornaments, jewels standing out against a white velvet viewing board. And then, with the light gone, the drops which had waited to have their pictures taken, which had suspended their downward rush, fell upon them, stinging, in an insect cloud of coldness and pain.

Related Characters: Pickard (speaker), Lieutenant, Simmons
Page Number: 91
Explanation and Analysis:

He slipped and fell. Lie here, he thought; it’s the wrong one. Lie here. It’s no use. Drink all you want.

But he managed to climb to his feet again and crossed several creeks, and the yellow light grew very bright, and he began to run again, his feet crashing into mirrors and glass, his arms flailing at diamonds and precious stones.

Related Characters: Lieutenant (speaker), Simmons, Pickard, General Mendt
Related Symbols: Sun Dome
Page Number: 95
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Long Rain LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Long Rain PDF

Pickard Character Timeline in The Long Rain

The timeline below shows where the character Pickard appears in The Long Rain. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Long Rain
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
The lieutenant orders the other men (later revealed as Simmons and Pickard) to stay put until the monster departs. When the coast is clear, the shaken-up comrades... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Government, Politics, and Foreign Affairs Theme Icon
The lieutenant, Simmons, and Pickard continue onward, crossing milky creeks, streams, and rivers. Venus’ single continent, which floats like an... (full context)
Determination and Luck Theme Icon
As the lieutenant, Simmons, and Pickard carry on southward, Simmons suddenly exclaims that he sees something. Sure enough, far in the... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Determination and Luck Theme Icon
Government, Politics, and Foreign Affairs Theme Icon
Simmons, Pickard, and the lieutenant reach the Sun Dome. Simmons flings open the doors, yelling, “Bring on... (full context)
Government, Politics, and Foreign Affairs Theme Icon
...Sun Domes they can ruin us.” One of the other men (either the lieutenant or Pickard) asks how this is possible, since all of the Sun Domes are heavily protected with... (full context)
Government, Politics, and Foreign Affairs Theme Icon
...you. It takes about eight hours to drown the way they work it. Really delightful.” Pickard laughs bitterly and says that there’s probably no food left at this Sun Dome. Simmons... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
The Power of Memory Theme Icon
Clutching his skull, Pickard cries that the constant rain reminds him of how a bully in grade school used... (full context)
Determination and Luck Theme Icon
The lieutenant tells Pickard that they’ll be at the next Sun Dome in just eight hours. Pickard asks what... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Four hours later, the lieutenant, Simmons, and Pickard are halfway to the next Sun Dome. Pickard declares that he can’t go any farther—he... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
...He jumps up wildly, unable to tolerate the “thousand hands [that] were touching him.” Suddenly, Pickard begins to scream and run around frantically. Pickard shoots his gun in the air six... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Determination and Luck Theme Icon
Pickard suddenly goes quiet, and the lieutenant turns shines his hand lamp on Pickard’s face. To... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
The Power of Memory Theme Icon
Government, Politics, and Foreign Affairs Theme Icon
...the rain. His lungs were full of water.” The lieutenant turns his attention back to Pickard, and slaps him across the face. Simmons warns that Pickard can no longer feel his... (full context)
Determination and Luck Theme Icon
The lieutenant says they can’t just leave Pickard here to drown, so Simmons turns around and swiftly shoots Pickard, who crumples to the... (full context)