Zero Hour

by

Ray Bradbury

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Mrs. Mary Morris Character Analysis

Mrs. Morris is seven-year-old Mink’s mother and Henry Morris’ wife. She is somewhat exhausted by her excitable, imaginative daughter, though she often plays along with Mink’s happy rambling. Like all of the adults in the story, Mrs. Morris is extremely logical and thus believes—until it’s too late—that the Invasion is just a harmless, fictitious game for kids. On a subconscious level, though, it seems that Mrs. Morris does understand the gravity of the game. When “zero hour” strikes and the aliens successfully invade, Mrs. Morris’ mind is flooded with all of the little realizations and suspicions that she carefully concealed from herself all day. Mrs. Morris’s inner conflict over the Invasion illustrates how blinding it is to see the world through a purely logical lens. She also fails to take her daughter seriously for most of the story, highlighting the story’s criticism of the way adults are flippant about things children say and do, assuming their words and ideas are of little value.

Mrs. Mary Morris Quotes in Zero Hour

The Zero Hour quotes below are all either spoken by Mrs. Mary Morris or refer to Mrs. Mary Morris. 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:
Impressionability and Manipulation Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Simon and Schuster edition of Zero Hour published in 1949.
“Zero Hour” Quotes

Mink talked earnestly to someone near the rosebush—though there was no one there.

These odd children.

Related Characters: Mrs. Mary Morris (speaker), Mink Morris, Drill
Related Symbols: The Rosebush
Page Number: 256-257
Explanation and Analysis:

Mink rebelled. “You’re laughing! You’ll kill Drill and everybody.”

Related Characters: Mink Morris (speaker), Mrs. Mary Morris, Drill
Page Number: 258
Explanation and Analysis:

“They couldn’t find a way to attack, Mom. Drill says—he says in order to make a good fight you got to have a new way of surprising people. That way you win. And he says also you got to have help from your enemy. […] And they couldn’t find a way to surprise Earth or get help. […] Until, one day,” whispered Mink melodramatically, “they thought of children! […] And they thought of how grownups are so busy they never look under rosebushes or on lawns!”

Related Characters: Mink Morris (speaker), Mrs. Mary Morris, Drill
Related Symbols: The Rosebush
Page Number: 259
Explanation and Analysis:

“And there’s something about kids under nine and imagination. It’s real funny to hear Drill talk.”

Mrs. Morris was tired. “Well, it must be funny. You’re keeping Drill waiting now. It’s getting late in the day and, if you want to have your Invasion before your supper bath, you’d better jump.”

“Drill says I won’t have to take baths […] He told all the kids that. No more baths. And we can stay up till ten o’clock and go to two televisor shows on Saturday ‘stead of one!”

Related Characters: Mrs. Mary Morris (speaker), Mink Morris (speaker), Drill
Page Number: 260
Explanation and Analysis:

“We’re having trouble with guys like Pete Britz and Dale Jerrick. They’re growing up. They make fun. They’re worse than parents. They just won’t believe in Drill. They’re so snooty, ‘cause they’re growing up. You’d think they’d know better. They were little only a coupla years ago. I hate them worse. We’ll kill them first.”

“Your father and I last?”

“Drill says you’re dangerous. Know why? ‘Cause you don’t believe in Martians! They’re going to let us run the world. Well, not just us, but the kids over in the next block, too. I might be queen.”

Related Characters: Mrs. Mary Morris (speaker), Mink Morris (speaker), Drill, Mr. Henry Morris, Pete Britz, Dale Jerrick
Page Number: 260
Explanation and Analysis:

“Mink, was that Peggy Ann crying?”

Mink was bent over in the yard, near the rosebush.

“Yeah. She’s a scarebaby. We won’t let her play, now. She’s getting too old to play. I guess she grew up all of a sudden.”

Related Characters: Mrs. Mary Morris (speaker), Mink Morris (speaker), Drill, Peggy Ann
Related Symbols: The Rosebush
Page Number: 262
Explanation and Analysis:

She was babbling wild stuff now. It came out of her. All the subconscious suspicion and fear that had gathered secretly all afternoon and fermented like a wine in her. All the little revelations and knowledges and sense that had bothered her all day and which she had logically and carefully and sensibly rejected and censored. Now it exploded in her and shook her to bits.

Related Symbols: The Attic
Page Number: 265
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Zero Hour LitChart as a printable PDF.
Zero Hour PDF

Mrs. Mary Morris Character Timeline in Zero Hour

The timeline below shows where the character Mrs. Mary Morris appears in Zero Hour. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
“Zero Hour”
Adults vs. Children Theme Icon
Imagination and Logic Theme Icon
...stuffs into a sack. At seven years old, Mink is “loud and strong and definite.” Mrs. Morris , Mink’s mother, is horrified by the mess Mink is making and demands an explanation.... (full context)
Adults vs. Children Theme Icon
Peace, War, and Alien Invasions Theme Icon
Imagination and Logic Theme Icon
From an upstairs window, Mrs. Morris peers down on the children in the yard and shakes her head with amusement. She... (full context)
Adults vs. Children Theme Icon
Peace, War, and Alien Invasions Theme Icon
...she drinks her milk in a single gulp and tries to dash back outside, but Mrs. Morris forces her to drink her soup. Squirming in her seat, Mink tells her mom to... (full context)
Adults vs. Children Theme Icon
Imagination and Logic Theme Icon
Mrs. Morris prods Mink to find out who Drill is and if he’s a new boy in... (full context)
Impressionability and Manipulation Theme Icon
Adults vs. Children Theme Icon
Peace, War, and Alien Invasions Theme Icon
Mink accuses her mom of laughing and claims that Mrs. Morris will “kill Drill and everybody.” Mink says she’s... (full context)
Impressionability and Manipulation Theme Icon
Adults vs. Children Theme Icon
Peace, War, and Alien Invasions Theme Icon
Imagination and Logic Theme Icon
...make a good fight,” one needs the element of surprise and help from the enemy. Mrs. Morris says that this is called a “fifth column,” and Drill affirms that that’s what Drill... (full context)
Impressionability and Manipulation Theme Icon
Adults vs. Children Theme Icon
Peace, War, and Alien Invasions Theme Icon
Imagination and Logic Theme Icon
Mink then rambles on about four “dim-dims,” and Mrs. Morris realizes she means the four “dimensions.” Mink adds that Drill also said “something about kids... (full context)
Impressionability and Manipulation Theme Icon
Adults vs. Children Theme Icon
Peace, War, and Alien Invasions Theme Icon
Imagination and Logic Theme Icon
Backing out the door, Mink tells Mrs. Morris that she and the other kids have been having problems with some of the older... (full context)
Impressionability and Manipulation Theme Icon
Adults vs. Children Theme Icon
Halfway out the door, Mink asks her mother what “lodge-ick” is. Mrs. Morris answers that “logic is knowing what things are true and... (full context)
Adults vs. Children Theme Icon
Mink thanks her mother for lunch and runs out the door, only to return a few seconds later, calling,... (full context)
Impressionability and Manipulation Theme Icon
Adults vs. Children Theme Icon
Peace, War, and Alien Invasions Theme Icon
Imagination and Logic Theme Icon
At 4:00 P.M., Mrs. Morris receives a video call from her friend Helen, who lives in Pennsylvania. Both women admit... (full context)
Impressionability and Manipulation Theme Icon
Peace, War, and Alien Invasions Theme Icon
...they used to play as children back in 1948, especially one called “Japs and Nazis.” Mrs. Morris says she can’t believe her parents put up with her. Helen says that “Parents learn... (full context)
Impressionability and Manipulation Theme Icon
Adults vs. Children Theme Icon
Peace, War, and Alien Invasions Theme Icon
Imagination and Logic Theme Icon
Helen says her son, Tim, has a crush on a boy named Drill, and Mrs. Morris says that Mink likes him too, and that the word Drill “Must be a new... (full context)
Impressionability and Manipulation Theme Icon
Adults vs. Children Theme Icon
Mink runs in for a glass of water, and Mrs. Morris asks how the game is going. Mink says that the game is “Almost finished.” She... (full context)
Impressionability and Manipulation Theme Icon
Adults vs. Children Theme Icon
Peace, War, and Alien Invasions Theme Icon
Imagination and Logic Theme Icon
...delight—except for a young girl named Peggy Ann, who runs away in tears. Noticing this, Mrs. Morris orders Mink to explain why Peggy Ann was crying. Mink, crouched near the rosebush, distractedly... (full context)
Adults vs. Children Theme Icon
...mumbles that Drill is “stuck” and only made it halfway to Earth. She explains to her mother that if the kids can get Drill through successfully, then all the other aliens can... (full context)
Adults vs. Children Theme Icon
Back in the house, Mrs. Morris sips a beer in her massage chair and thinks about how one minute, children hate... (full context)
Peace, War, and Alien Invasions Theme Icon
A clock in the house chimes, announcing that it’s 5:00 P.M. Mrs. Morris laughs to herself, realizing that (according to Mink) it is now “zero hour.” A car... (full context)
Imagination and Logic Theme Icon
A low buzzing noise begins to sound, and Mrs. Morris ’ eyes widen. Nervously, she asks Henry if the kids were playing with electricity or... (full context)
Impressionability and Manipulation Theme Icon
Peace, War, and Alien Invasions Theme Icon
Imagination and Logic Theme Icon
Suddenly, an explosion shakes the house, and Mrs. Morris screams. She and Henry hear several explosions go off in other people’s yards. Frantically, Mrs.... (full context)
Adults vs. Children Theme Icon
Peace, War, and Alien Invasions Theme Icon
Imagination and Logic Theme Icon
Once in the attic, Mrs. Morris locks the door behind them and tosses the key into a far corner of the... (full context)
Adults vs. Children Theme Icon
Peace, War, and Alien Invasions Theme Icon
Henry yells that his wife has gone crazy, but upon hearing Mink’s voice downstairs, Mrs. Morris hushes him. The buzzing intensifies, and the video phone begins to ring “insistently, alarmingly, violently.”... (full context)
Impressionability and Manipulation Theme Icon
Adults vs. Children Theme Icon
Peace, War, and Alien Invasions Theme Icon
Imagination and Logic Theme Icon
...is “tramping around” in his house. Through the sounds of the buzzing and children’s giggles, Mrs. Morris and her husband hear Mink calling out for her parents. As Mink wanders up to... (full context)
Adults vs. Children Theme Icon
Peace, War, and Alien Invasions Theme Icon
Mink calls out for her mother and father again, and the lock on the attic door melts. The door opens, revealing... (full context)