Summary and Analysis: Medicine for Melancholy The Strawberry Window


Robert Prentiss and his family have moved from Earth to Mars as part of a program to colonize this new planet. Carrie, his wife, is dreadfully unhappy on Mars, and many, many times in the stillness of the Martian night, she has taken her clothes out from the bureau in preparation for packing and returning home. The things that are important to her are back home on Earth. But when her spirits are especially low, Robert surprises her by having those items which are most dear to her shipped from Earth to Mars. These items include the creaking front steps to their home, the front door with the strawberry window in it, and her piano. Robert promises his wife that soon he will have the entire house shipped to Mars. Carrie is now content. As she climbs the creaking front doorsteps to peer through the strawberry window, the pink glass gives Mars the appearance of a never-ending dawn.

"The Strawberry Window," like "The End of the Beginning," is Bradbury's statement of belief in the necessity of travel to outer space. Robert Prentiss is the person through whom Bradbury speaks. Prentiss tries to persuade his wife to consider the importance of their inhabiting Mars. He tells her that one day the sun is going to explode. Then, humanity will die unless other planets have already been colonized. Prentiss compares our instinct to survive to the instinctive way that salmon fight against the stream to arrive at the proper place before they propagate and die. He assures Carrie that people may say that they are sending out space ships for the purpose of making money or seeing the sights, but the real reason for the space flights is to inhabit world after world so that nothing can ever totally destroy humanity. Bradbury is optimistic about achieving immortality through outer space exploration and colonization. He has strongly supported the United States' space program from the Apollo flights to the early investigation of Mars. He sees the nation's space program as an absolute necessity in the future and considers the space program to be of the greatest priority because it symbolizes the life force struggling to survive not just here on Earth but in other worlds, forever and forever.