Reading Responses by Julian Desaulnier for Mme Lewis.
Q. What is the theme of The Martian?
In the beginning of the book, we find American astronaut, Mark Watney, stranded on Mars. There was a giant sandstorm on SOL 6 that the crew believed killed Watney moments before they were forced to abort the mission and blast off from Mars. Alone on a hostile planet, with limited supplies, and no way to communicate with Earth, the story presents one problem after another. Mark Watney has to overcome these challenges in order to survive. The book’s theme deals with never giving up. Watney can either accept death or get to work. He chose to use science to solve problems, one step at time. For instance, in Log Entry Sol 7, Watney writes, “Of course, I don’t have any plan for surviving four years on one year of food. But one thing at a time here. For now, I’m well fed and have a purpose: Fix the d---- radio”.
Once news of Watney’s survival reaches earth and his crew mates, everyone does their part of help rescue him. The second theme of the book is everyone working together to bring Mark Watney home. Nasa works to rush rescue supplies, the crew of the Hermes space ship sacrifice their return trip to return to Mars, and the people of earth come together support rescue efforts. In Watney’s last log entry, he writes, “If a hiker gets lost in the mountains, people will coordinate a search. If a train crashes, people will line up to give blood. If an earthquake levels a city, people all over the world will send emergency supplies. This is so fundamentally human, that it is found in every culture without exception . . . And because of that, I had billions of people on my side”.