The Visitor

by

Ray Bradbury

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Leonard Mark Character Analysis

The story’s titular visitor, Leonard Mark is a young, relatively healthy arrival to Mars, with the fantastical ability to implant visions in others’ minds. Upon meeting Saul for the first time, Mark makes New York City spring up around them, and later transports Saul to a beloved childhood creek. Mark explains his telepathic and hypnotic abilities as likely being the result of the “blow-up” of 1957, implying that there has been a nuclear explosion on Earth. He refuses payment for his services, saying that he simply enjoys making others happy. At the same time, Mark insists upon his freedom to use his power as he wishes, and that he, as a human being, does not belong to anyone. After Saul kidnaps him and brings him to a cave to hide him from the other Martian exiles, Mark mocks Saul’s greed and asserts that his selfishness has ruined what he would have freely given. Later, when other men arrive, Mark suggests a schedule that would allow for the equal sharing of his abilities; the men refuse, however, and when Mark points out that one of them, Johnson, has a gun, chaos erupts. Johnson accidentally shoots and kills Mark in the subsequent fight. With the loss of Mark comes the loss of the potential for escape from the lonely drudgery of the men’s Martian existence. Mark more broadly represents the Earth itself, whose resources human beings have selfishly and greedily depleted.

Leonard Mark Quotes in The Visitor

The The Visitor quotes below are all either spoken by Leonard Mark or refer to Leonard Mark. 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:
Selfishness and Greed Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Simon & Schuster edition of The Visitor published in 1981.
“The Visitor” Quotes

New York grew up out of the desert, made of stone and filled with March winds. Neons exploded in electric color. Yellow taxis glided in a still night. Bridges rose and tugs chanted in the midnight harbors. Curtains rose on spangled musicals.

Saul put his hands to his head, violently.

"Hold on, hold on!" he cried. "What's happening to me? What's wrong with me? I'm going crazy!"

Leaves sprouted from trees in Central Park, green and new. On the pathway Saul strolled along, smelling the air.

Related Characters: Saul Williams (speaker), Leonard Mark
Page Number: 195
Explanation and Analysis:

Saul lay on the sand. From time to time his hands moved, twitched excitedly. His mouth spasmed open; sounds issued from his tightening and relaxing throat.

Saul began to make slow movements of his arms, out and back, out and back, gasping with his head to one side, his arms going and coming slowly on the warm air, stirring the yellow sand under him, his body turning slowly over.

Leonard Mark quietly finished his coffee. While he drank he kept his eyes on the moving, whispering Saul lying there on the dead sea bottom.

Related Characters: Saul Williams, Leonard Mark
Page Number: 197
Explanation and Analysis:

We'll be in Greece, he thought. In Athens. We'll be in Rome, if we want, when we study the Roman writers. We'll stand in the Parthenon and the Acropolis. It won’t be just talk, but it'll be a place to be, besides. This man can do it. He has the power to do it. When we talk the plays of Racine, he can make a stage and players and all of it for me. By Christ, this is better than life ever was! How much better to be sick and here than well on Earth without these abilities!

Related Characters: Saul Williams (speaker), Leonard Mark
Page Number: 198
Explanation and Analysis:

“Come on. Don’t you realize what’ll happen once they discover your talent? They’ll fight over you. They’ll kill each other—kill you—for the right to own you.”

“Oh, but I don’t belong to anybody,” said Leonard Mark. He looked at Saul. “No. Not even you.”

Saul jerked his head. “I didn’t even think of that.”

Related Characters: Saul Williams (speaker), Leonard Mark (speaker)
Page Number: 199
Explanation and Analysis:

“If you’d had any sense and done things intelligently, we’d have been friends. I'd have been glad to do you these little hypnotic favors. After all, they’re no trouble for me to conjure up. Fun, really. But you’ve botched it. You wanted me all to yourself. You were afraid the others would take me away from you. Oh, how mistaken you were. I have enough power to keep them all happy. You could have shared me, like a community kitchen.”

Related Characters: Leonard Mark (speaker), Saul Williams
Page Number: 202
Explanation and Analysis:

By dawn the arguments and ferocities still continued. Mark sat among the glaring men, rubbing his wrists, newly released from his bonds. He created a mahogany paneled conference hall and a marble table at which they all sat, ridiculously bearded, evil-smelling, sweating and greedy men, eyes bent upon their treasure.

Related Characters: Leonard Mark (speaker), Saul Williams, Johnson, Smith
Page Number: 203-204
Explanation and Analysis:

“The rest of the week I’m to be left strictly alone, do you hear?” Mark told them. A little should be better than nothing. If you don’t obey, I won’t perform at all.” […]

“Let me talk,” said Johnson. “He’s telling us what he’ll do. Why don’t we tell him! Are we bigger than him, or not? And him threatening not to perform! Well, just let me get a sliver of wood under his toenails and maybe burn his fingers a bit with a steel file, and we’ll see if he performs! Why shouldn’t we have performances, I want to know, every night in the week?”

Related Characters: Leonard Mark (speaker), Johnson (speaker)
Page Number: 202
Explanation and Analysis:

The men gazed suspiciously at each other with little bright animal eyes. What was spoken was true. They saw each other in the days to come, surprising one another, killing—until that last lucky one remained to enjoy the intellectual treasure that walked among them.

Related Characters: Leonard Mark (speaker), Saul Williams, Johnson, Smith
Page Number: 205
Explanation and Analysis:

It didn't work. It wasn’t the same. New York was gone and nothing he could do would bring it back. He would rise every morning and walk on the dead sea looking for it, and walk forever around Mars, looking for it, and never find it. And finally lie, too tired to walk, trying to find New York in his head, but not finding it.

The last thing he heard before he slept was the spade rising and falling and digging a hole into which, with a tremendous crash of metal and golden mist and odor and color and sound, New York collapsed, fell, and was buried.

Related Characters: Leonard Mark (speaker), Saul Williams
Page Number: 208
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Visitor LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Visitor PDF

Leonard Mark Character Timeline in The Visitor

The timeline below shows where the character Leonard Mark appears in The Visitor. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
“The Visitor”
Isolation, Loneliness, and Home Theme Icon
...young and “fresh in spite of his illness.” The young man introduces himself as Leonard Mark. (full context)
Isolation, Loneliness, and Home Theme Icon
Saul asks Mark about the state of New York, at which point the city itself suddenly erupts around... (full context)
Selfishness and Greed Theme Icon
Meaning and Imagination Theme Icon
At noon that day, over coffee, Mark tells Saul that he was born with his ability, which he describes as “telepathy and... (full context)
Selfishness and Greed Theme Icon
Isolation, Loneliness, and Home Theme Icon
Meaning and Imagination Theme Icon
Mark asks Saul what he would prefer to be doing more than anything else, and Saul... (full context)
Selfishness and Greed Theme Icon
Meaning and Imagination Theme Icon
Saul images all the places Mark will take him and all of the philosophers he’ll be able to talk to through... (full context)
Selfishness and Greed Theme Icon
...from his reverie, Saul spots other men in the distance slowly moving towards him and Mark. He tells Mark they must leave, because the other men are “insane” and will fight—even... (full context)
Selfishness and Greed Theme Icon
Isolation, Loneliness, and Home Theme Icon
Saul again insists Mark leave, but Mark calls him “too possessive.” Growing angry, Saul feels “an ugliness” rise within... (full context)
Selfishness and Greed Theme Icon
Isolation, Loneliness, and Home Theme Icon
Mark awakens tied up in a dark cave. He calls Saul, who is tending to a... (full context)
Selfishness and Greed Theme Icon
Saul tells Mark he’ll free him if he promises not to run away, but Mark again insists that... (full context)
Selfishness and Greed Theme Icon
...that he is sorry, but that the other men would never have agreed to that. Mark accuses Saul of being no different from the others, before saying that he heard a... (full context)
Selfishness and Greed Theme Icon
...investigate the noise; finding nothing, he returns to a now-empty cave. He shouts frantically for Mark but receives no answer. However, he notices a large boulder near the cave’s wall, and... (full context)
Selfishness and Greed Theme Icon
The men argue ferociously until dawn. Mark has conjured a conference hall and marble table, around which the men sit. They are... (full context)
Selfishness and Greed Theme Icon
In an effort to settle things, Mark suggests creating appointments so that each man gets equal time with him every week. Saul,... (full context)
Selfishness and Greed Theme Icon
Mark offers up a schedule, which includes time to himself as well. The other men seem... (full context)
Selfishness and Greed Theme Icon
One of the men, Johnson, proposes that they instead force Mark to perform, and torture him if he refuses. They are five against one, Johnson insists,... (full context)
Selfishness and Greed Theme Icon
Isolation, Loneliness, and Home Theme Icon
Mark urges the others not to listen to Johnson, calling the man crazy and asserting that... (full context)
Selfishness and Greed Theme Icon
The men look at each other with suspicion and understand that Mark is correct. Saul, meanwhile, begins to understand the gravity of his mistake, realizing that they... (full context)
Selfishness and Greed Theme Icon
After a tense silence, Mark speaks up again, saying that one of the men has a gun, and the others... (full context)
Selfishness and Greed Theme Icon
Mark screams for the men to stop and begins conjuring New York City around them. The... (full context)
Selfishness and Greed Theme Icon
Meaning and Imagination Theme Icon
New York begins to collapse, buildings crumpling in on themselves with hisses and sighs. Mark stands in the middle of it all, a red hole in his chest. He collapses.... (full context)
Selfishness and Greed Theme Icon
Meaning and Imagination Theme Icon
...throws it as far as he can without watching where it lands. He calls out Mark’s name and grabs his limp hand, but the body is still. “We’ve killed him,” Saul... (full context)
Selfishness and Greed Theme Icon
Isolation, Loneliness, and Home Theme Icon
Meaning and Imagination Theme Icon
...the background. He wants to sleep, and to dream of New York. Saul wonders how Mark brought them the visions and tries his hardest to imagine the city around him. It... (full context)