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This paper will go over the novel “The Martian” by Andy Weir. It will go over the important parts of the plot and characters with an impact. Also, themes and lessons in the story will be discussed. The main character is named Mark Watney and is faced with the task of surviving on Mars alone. The goal is to inform you about the story and make you want to read it.
In the story, Mark Watney is abandoned on Mars by his crewmates who thought him to be dead at the time when they left.
He is forced to use his intelligence and ingenuity to survive on the lifeless planet. To make it back home he must do several things. First, he must make a potato farm to expand his food supply. Also, he needs to travel to the Ares 4 site with a modified rover. Finally, he has to get to Pathfinder so he can communicate with NASA. After doing all these things he is able to be rescued by his crew that left him there.
This is just a basic summary of the plot in the novel.
The story is laid out like a long journal of the whole time Mark is stranded on Mars with a few sections where it takes place and NASA and a few with some third person of Mark. Having the story like this is a great choice because it allows Mark to be able to express what he is thinking instead of just having the story be his day-to-day actions without Mark’s thoughts.
It is also cool that the story is like this because it shows exactly what day it is at all times during the story. Finally, if the story where not laid out like this, it would be very hard to interpret what is happening. This is due to how important the timeline is in this story regarding Mark’s survival.
One of the characters with the greatest impact on the story is obviously the main character, Mark Watney. He is the what dries the plot forward which makes him the most impactful character. His sarcastic yet serious personality makes his day-to-day logs of surviving on Mars very entertaining to read. If Mark was not exactly how he is portrayed in the story then it would be very boring and would leave readers with no interest to continue to the end. The humor that he brings to the novel helps to make the whole story fun to read, including parts that would usually be considered dull plot-fillers. These are some reasons that Mark is the greatest impact on the story.
Other characters that have a big impact on the story are the people that work at NASA. They provide the story with another side to the lot that keeps its fresh instead of just focusing on what Mark is doing the whole time which is a good change of pace. It also provides the plot with information on how hard the people on Earth are working to save one man and how much money is being spent on his expense. Venkat, the head of NASA, is the one who is focused on the most during the points in the story that take place away from Mark. He demonstrates how hard everyone is working by showing that even the head of NASA is busy with the Mark crisis. This makes him fairly impactful to the story as a symbol of hard-work. Another impactful character in the NASA crew is Annie, the head of media for NASA. Her involvement in the story brings some humor to the otherwise boring NASA parts of the story with her sarcastic personality similar to Mark and her tendency to have no filter. These are the characters at NASA with the biggest impact on the story.
A theme that commonly comes up in the novel is perseverance. Mark has to use perseverance many times when things don’t go his way to keep trying to survive. For example, when Mark is trying to make water for the potato farm by releasing hydrogen in the air, he nearly dies after he causes an explosion. He doesn’t try again for three days for fear of repeating the explosion but perseveres on the forth day and succeeds in making water. Also, when Mark accidently destroys his only way to talk to NASA, he doesn’t just give up and stop trying to survive. Instead, he perseveres and finds a way to do things without their help. One final example of this theme is when Mark is traveling down a crater to the Ares 4 site he drives over a hole and flips his rover and hits his head making him unconscious. When he comes too, he gets out, assess the damage to the rover, fixes what needs to be fixed, and continues to drive down the crater. This shows Mark having perseverance in a tough situation.
Another theme that comes up frequently in the novel is helping others when they are in need. Many times in the story there is a situation where it seems like there is no hope of saving Mark’s life when someone will come out of nowhere with something to help the cause. One example of this is when NASA hastily builds a resupply shuttle with their only booster that ends up failing and leaving them with no booster. When China’s space organization hears about this they decide to give up their booster for the cause to save Mark. NASA was in desperate need of a booster and China supplied them with one. Another example of this theme is when the world first discovered that Mark was alive everyone realized that NASA did not have the funds to be able to save Mark’s life. When word of this got around countless people started to donate to the cause including the government who gave NASA emergency funding to be able to act. NASA needed money in this situation and the government provided them with funding. One final example of this theme in the story is when the Venkat is in desperate need of a new plan to save Mark a astrophysicist named Rich Purnell decides to put a theory that could be the answer to NASA’s problem. After hours of working on his theory, Rich discovers that the Ares 3 crew can use Earth’s gravity to slingshot back to Mars. He helps the head of NASA when he is in need.
One final theme that shows up in the story is that you learn from your mistakes. This is present throughout the novel in multiple instances. For example, when Mark wears down airlock 1 on the hab it causes an explosion with him inside that launches him away inside the airlock. After this situation is all over and resolved, he starts to alternate between the remaining two airlocks so a similar situation doesn’t occur. Another instance where the theme is present is when Mark drives in to the dust storm that lowers the efficiency of his solar panels. When he finally realizes it takes days away from his journey that he has to spend fixing his mistake. He learns from this experience and is much more observant on his journey. One final example of this theme in the story is when Mark accidently blows up the hab while trying to make water. This nearly causes the bacteria and potatoes that he needs to survive to all be killed in seconds. This causes Mark to be much more cautious with everything he does in the hab knowing that the farm is his only hope of survival.
In conclusion, this paper discussed the novel “The Martian” by Andy Weir. It went over major points in the plot and characters that are impactful to the story. Also, it went over some of the major themes that can be found present in the novel. Hopefully it adequately informed you about the novel and made you want to read it.
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