The Other Foot

by

Ray Bradbury

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Other Foot can help.
The old white man, who is never named, steps out of the rocket to tell the Martians why the Earth people have come to Mars: a nuclear war has rendered Earth uninhabitable, and there are only five hundred thousand survivors on the entire planet. He humbly asks the Martians to allow the Earth people to come to Mars, asserting they will work for the Martians and endure whatever treatment the Martians see fit. Although many Martians initially planned to attack the white man and reinstate segregation and prejudice, the white man’s humility and stories about how everything on Earth has been destroyed (and, with it, all physical traces of racism and slavery) change their minds. The Martians accept the white man’s request for help and assert that all people—regardless of race—are now “on the same level.”

The White Man Quotes in The Other Foot

The The Other Foot quotes below are all either spoken by The White Man or refer to The White Man. 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:
Revenge and Empathy Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Simon & Schuster edition of The Other Foot published in 2012.
The Other Foot Quotes

Well, the white people live on Earth, which is where we all come from, twenty years ago. We just up and walked away and came to Mars and set down and built towns and here we are. Now we’re Martians instead of Earth people. And no white men’ve come up here in all that time. That’s the story.

Page Number: 41
Explanation and Analysis:

“You ain’t going to lynch him?”

“Lynch him?” Everyone laughed. Mr. Brown slapped his knee. “Why, bless you, child, no! We’re going to shake his hand. Ain’t we, everyone?”

Related Characters: Hattie Johnson (speaker), Mr. Brown (speaker), The White Man
Related Symbols: The Rope
Page Number: 42
Explanation and Analysis:

I’m not feeling Christian […] I’m just feeling mean. After all them years of doing what they did to our folks—my mom and dad, and your mom and dad—You remember? You remember how they hung my father on Knockwood Hill and shot my mother? You remember? Or you got a memory that’s short like the others?

Related Characters: Willie Johnson (speaker), Hattie Johnson, The White Man
Page Number: 43
Explanation and Analysis:

“Well […] the shoe’s on the other foot now. We’ll see who gets laws passed against him, who gets lynched, who rides the back of streetcars, who gets segregated in shows. We’ll just wait and see.”

Related Characters: Willie Johnson (speaker), Hattie Johnson, The White Man
Page Number: 43
Explanation and Analysis:

Willie plunged out of the house. “You children come inside, I’m locking you up. You ain’t seeing no white man, you ain’t talking about them, you ain’t doing nothing.”

Page Number: 45
Explanation and Analysis:

All along the road people were looking up in the sky, or climbing in their cars, or riding in cars, and guns were sticking up out of some cars like telescopes sighting all the evils of a world coming to an end.

Page Number: 45
Explanation and Analysis:

The people were so close together it looked like one dark body with a thousand arms reaching out to take the weapons.

Related Characters: Willie Johnson, The White Man
Page Number: 46
Explanation and Analysis:

“We’ve been stupid. Before God we admit our stupidity and our evilness. All the Chinese and the Indians and the Russians and the British and the Americans. We’re asking to be taken in […] We deserve anything you want to do to us, but don’t shut us out.”

Related Characters: The White Man (speaker)
Page Number: 52
Explanation and Analysis:

“The Lord’s let us come through, a few here and a few there. And what happens next is up to all of us. The time for being fools is over. We got to be something else except fools. […] now the white man’s as lonely as we’ve always been. He’s got no home now, just like we didn’t have one for so long. Now everything’s even. We can start all over again, on the same level.”

Related Characters: Willie Johnson (speaker), Hattie Johnson, The White Man
Page Number: 56
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Other Foot LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Other Foot PDF

The White Man Character Timeline in The Other Foot

The timeline below shows where the character The White Man appears in The Other Foot. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Other Foot
The Inhumanity of Racism Theme Icon
...tells his mother, “They say a rocket’s coming, first one in twenty years, with a white man in it!” The other boy asks what a white man is, claiming he has never... (full context)
Revenge and Empathy Theme Icon
The Inhumanity of Racism Theme Icon
...like something might. The boys say they just want to see the spaceship and see the white man . They ask again what the white man is like, and Hattie answers, “I don’t... (full context)
Revenge and Empathy Theme Icon
The Inhumanity of Racism Theme Icon
...car. The Brown children greet Hattie and eagerly tell her that they’re going to see the white man . Mr. Brown adds that his children “never saw one, and I almost forgot.” Cautiously,... (full context)
Revenge and Empathy Theme Icon
...the kids. Willie glares at the Browns and asks them if they’re going to see the white man “like a bunch of fools.” Mr. Brown smiles and affirms that they are planning to... (full context)
Revenge and Empathy Theme Icon
The Inhumanity of Racism Theme Icon
In the yard, Hattie’s boys chatter about the white man , saying that he is white like milk, chalk, and flowers. Willie “shove[s]” his children... (full context)
The Individual vs. The Group Theme Icon
...to Mars, the crowd gasps. Suddenly, the rocket’s large door slides open, and a tired-looking old white man steps out. The crowd begins to murmur, “A white man, a white man, a white... (full context)
Revenge and Empathy Theme Icon
The Inhumanity of Racism Theme Icon
The white man is tall and frail. His eyes are “colorless, almost white and sightless with things he... (full context)
Humility and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Addressing the crowd, the old man says that he will not offer his name, as it doesn’t really matter who he... (full context)
The Inhumanity of Racism Theme Icon
The old man continues, saying that the cotton fields have all burned, the cotton mills have been bombed,... (full context)
Humility and Forgiveness Theme Icon
The white man tells the crowd that “we destroyed everything and ruined everything, like the fools that we... (full context)
Revenge and Empathy Theme Icon
The Inhumanity of Racism Theme Icon
Willie tenses and his fingers tighten around his rope. The old man repeats, “We’ve been fools.” He says that none of the cities can be saved, as... (full context)
Revenge and Empathy Theme Icon
The Inhumanity of Racism Theme Icon
Humility and Forgiveness Theme Icon
The Individual vs. The Group Theme Icon
The old man says that Earth people have been “stupid,” and they admit their evilness “before God.” On... (full context)
Revenge and Empathy Theme Icon
The Inhumanity of Racism Theme Icon
The Individual vs. The Group Theme Icon
...maybe everyone’s hatred will fall away, too. Stepping forward from the silent crowd, Hattie asks the old man about Knockwood Hill in Greenwater, Alabama. Someone in the rocket ship hands the old man... (full context)
Revenge and Empathy Theme Icon
The Inhumanity of Racism Theme Icon
With her heart pounding, Hattie asks the old man if Dr. Phillips and his son are still alive. A machine clicks within the rocket,... (full context)
Revenge and Empathy Theme Icon
The Inhumanity of Racism Theme Icon
Willie asks about Mr. Burton and his house, and the old man says that no people or homes are left in Greenwater. Willie then asks about his... (full context)
Revenge and Empathy Theme Icon
The Inhumanity of Racism Theme Icon
Humility and Forgiveness Theme Icon
The Individual vs. The Group Theme Icon
Willie loosens his fingers, and the rope drops to the ground. He tells the white man that Earth people won’t have to work for Martians. With these words, the Martians run... (full context)
Humility and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...to all of us. The time for being fools is over.” He explains that when the white man was addressing the crowd, Willie realized that white people have now experienced the loneliness and... (full context)
The Inhumanity of Racism Theme Icon
Humility and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...out of the house. The children run out to their father asking if he saw the white man , and Willie responds, “Yes sir […] Seems like for the first time today I... (full context)