The Visitor

by

Ray Bradbury

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Visitor can help.

Saul Williams Character Analysis

A man exiled to Mars after contracting “blood rust,” Saul is deeply bored and lonely. He desperately longs to return to Earth, or, really, for any intellectual stimulation whatsoever amidst the desolate Martian landscape. A lover of ancient philosophy, early in the story Saul attempts to engage the man on the blanket in conversation to no avail. He is the first to greet Leonard Mark upon his arrival and becomes elated upon learning of Mark’s telepathic abilities. After Mark allows him to mentally visit a beloved childhood creek, Saul begins to imagine all of the places make will allow him to go—such as ancient Greece and Rome—and the long-dead philosopher’s he’ll be able to talk to. Upon noticing the other Martian exiles approaching, Saul quickly grows desperate to keep Mark—and his abilities—for himself. Despite their initial friendliness, he violently attacks Mark and brings him to an isolated cave. By the time Saul realizes how misguided he and the other men have been in their greedy desire to possess Mark, it is too late, and Mark is dead. At the end of the story, Saul cries himself to sleep, understanding that in his selfishness he has lost the chance of returning home for good. Saul represents the way the dangerous, misguided avarice of humankind will spell its doom.

Saul Williams Quotes in The Visitor

The The Visitor quotes below are all either spoken by Saul Williams or refer to Saul Williams. 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

After that he wanted very much to be back on Earth. During the day he tried every way that it was possible to be in New York City. Sometimes, if he sat right and held his hands a certain way, he did it. He could almost smell New York. Most of the time, though, it was impossible.

Related Characters: Saul Williams
Page Number: 192
Explanation and Analysis:

Along the shores of the dead sea, like so many emptied bottles flung up by some long-gone wave, were the huddled bodies of sleeping men. Saul could see them all down the curve of the empty sea. One, two, three—all of them sleeping alone, most of them worse off than he, each with his little cache of food, each grown into himself, because social converse was weakening and sleep was good.

Related Characters: Saul Williams
Page Number: 194
Explanation and Analysis:

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 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

Saul Williams Character Timeline in The Visitor

The timeline below shows where the character Saul Williams 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
Saul Williams wakes in his tent at seven o’clock in the morning, and laments how far... (full context)
Isolation, Loneliness, and Home Theme Icon
Meaning and Imagination Theme Icon
Saul, desperate for Earth, tries to imagine himself in New York City to no avail. He... (full context)
Isolation, Loneliness, and Home Theme Icon
After a nap, Saul’s mouth has filled with blood. Blood rust is an incurable, contagious disease that kills its... (full context)
Meaning and Imagination Theme Icon
Saul walks towards a man lying on a filthy blanket near the ruins of an ancient... (full context)
Isolation, Loneliness, and Home Theme Icon
Meaning and Imagination Theme Icon
Saul walks away and looks out over the bottom of the dried-up Martian sea, where many... (full context)
Meaning and Imagination Theme Icon
Again, Saul wants to be back on Earth “so bad it hurts.” He wants Earth “more than... (full context)
Isolation, Loneliness, and Home Theme Icon
In his excitement, Saul ignores his exhaustion and rushes over to the new arrival. He appears surprisingly young and... (full context)
Isolation, Loneliness, and Home Theme Icon
Saul asks Mark about the state of New York, at which point the city itself suddenly... (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 thought transference,”... (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 responds that... (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... (full context)
Selfishness and Greed Theme Icon
Coming down from his reverie, Saul spots other men in the distance slowly moving towards him and Mark. He tells Mark... (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... (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 fire, a fool and mocks his greed. Saul snaps at... (full context)
Selfishness and Greed Theme Icon
Saul tells Mark he’ll free him if he promises not to run away, but Mark again... (full context)
Selfishness and Greed Theme Icon
Saul cries that he is sorry, but that the other men would never have agreed to... (full context)
Selfishness and Greed Theme Icon
Saul goes to investigate the noise; finding nothing, he returns to a now-empty cave. He shouts... (full context)
Selfishness and Greed Theme Icon
...Mark suggests creating appointments so that each man gets equal time with him every week. Saul, however, will be on probation for his past behavior; Saul apologizes, insisting he didn’t realize... (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 “were all wrong,”... (full context)
Selfishness and Greed Theme Icon
...grow confused in the midst of the blossoming city, yet Johnson keeps firing his gun. Saul rushes to tackle Johnson to the ground and wrench away the gun, which goes off... (full context)
Selfishness and Greed Theme Icon
Meaning and Imagination Theme Icon
The cave grows cold. Realizing he still has the gun in his hand, Saul throws it as far as he can without watching where it lands. He calls out... (full context)
Selfishness and Greed Theme Icon
Isolation, Loneliness, and Home Theme Icon
Meaning and Imagination Theme Icon
Saul lies on the ground, too weak to move, and hears someone digging in the background.... (full context)