Monday, February 17, 2020

The Martian

In the following passage from Andy Weir's novel The Martian, we have excerpts from the protagonist's daily journal that he is using to record his efforts to survive.  The protagonist has been stranded on Mars and presumed dead.  He is trying to keep the equipment he has running and generate enough food and water to keep him alive until someone can rescue him.  Read the following selection:

     I've now grown accustomed to hearing the alarms blare at all times.  The fire alarm has finally stopped, now that there's no more fire.  The low oxygen alarm should stop soon.  The high humidity alarm will take a little longer.  The water reclaimer has its work cut out for today.
     For a moment, there was yet another alarm.  The water reclaimer's main tank was full.  Booyah! That's the kind of problem I want to have!
     Remember the space suit I vandalized yesterday?I hung it on its rack and carried buckets of water to it from the reclaimer. It can hold an atmosphere of air.  It should be able to handle a few buckets of water.
     Man I'm tired.  Been up all night, and it's time to sleep.  But I'll drift off to dreamland in the best mood I've been in since Sol 6.
   Things are finally going my way.  In fact, they're going great!  I have a chance to live after all!

     I am screwed, and I'm going to die!

What literary term is the author using to increase the intensity and suspense?

a. imagery
b. dramatic irony
c. foreshadowing
d. juxtaposition

Scroll down for the answer.

a. is incorrect.  While there is some imagery involved, it is not being used to create suspense or intensity.
b. is incorrect.  We do not know what the protagonist doesn't know.
c. is incorrect.  While there may be some foreshadowing going on, we do not have enough of the text to see if it develops into anything.  
d. is correct.  Juxtaposition is when change in two different scenes has meaning.  Here, we are all set up to think that things are finally working for him.  Then the next entry shows differently. 

O.K., I admit.  I changed a word in order to make it appropriate for all the young impressionable children out there.  I hang my head in censorship shame.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. for real? You changed the order? that was a mistake.