Revised Research Proposal
For my final research project, I am going to be doing The Martian written by Andy Weir, for the film adaptation I am going to do the 2015 film The Martian directed by Ridley Scott. I am choosing this text and film because compared to the texts and films we have looked at during the semester the main setting is set on Mars this movie does not focus on robots more so on the psychological effects solitude can have on someone who has to fight for their survival and this itself has the potential to draw attention to my classmates because we never really explored Mars as a setting or ventured out of the realm of earth too much. When I was reading the book and was watching the film one of the biggest themes that stood out to me was the idea of solitude. This is a theme that could resonate with a lot of people especially now with the current situation in the world since we are still in a pandemic and there was a time where people had to stay isolated and avoid human contact as much as possible. The correlation to this is that we as humans need someone to cope whenever it is that we are dealing with tough times and to not be able to do that has taken a toll as this has lead to many becoming anxious and many this pandemic has shaken our everyday mentality. We as a society adapted and embraced this new video chat world that has enabled us to see people again though not physically but through a screen. Although it is not the same, it is only temporary and we all know that eventually, we will go back to normal. Comparing this situation to Mark Watneys he had no form of communication to the world up until months later and then was only able to use morse code as a means of speaking to other members or NASA staff. In the meantime, only he knew what he was up to despite having a slim chance at survival he still scratched and clawed to make it back to his crew which is an incredible feat in it itself. The events of last year and the similarities that this text and film draw from the theme of solitude is why I am choosing this text and film for this project as it is what convinced me to pursue this work as I want to see what this amount of immense pressure does to oneself.
This novel can have a lot of topics that can be discussed, immediately coming to mind is the conflict of person vs self as in a situation like Mark’s we see that he is faced with the task of surviving in an environment not fully understood yet and since he is also alone we there is no one to cope with so does this lead him to only think with a sharper mindset or does this lead him down a path of insanity faster. During the reading of this text, there are many instances where we see that the main character Mark Watney deals with moments of isolation and there is a feeling of being alone as he can not express his frustration to anyone, as the reader one can see how being placed into a situation like his can lead to finding the need for comfort and he is all alone so he has no one but himself. The film uses his isolation and his need for human connection to drive the plot as throughout the film, instead of having a mental breakdown and accepting death on another planet we see the total opposite as throughout the story he is constantly going above and beyond to survive. What is one’s psychological thought process when placed in front of much adversity and how much more does it affect you when you’re dealing with this much pressure alone as you can only rely on yourself? Survival is a general theme in most science fiction movies and though this seems to be a main theme in the text and film I want to focus more on the idea of what it takes to accomplish the said goal and at what mental cost and physical if there is any.
I am approaching this project from a more psychological point of view as though there is a lot more focus on the psychological toll that this journey takes on Mark Watney rather than the use of technology in this film. Though it should be noted that no matter how much technology you have around you it will never compare to having an actual person with you in times of stress and a sense of hopelessness. This text and film are different because compared to the readings and films that we did in class during this semester there has been a robot or an artificial intelligence presence but with The Martian, it does not seem to be the case. This text and film show that science fiction does not have to revolve around the world of robots and that it can also show what it’s like to be alone even with all the technology in the world.
The Martian book annotations
Our protagonist Mark Watney is presumed dead and anyone with two eyes would be able to see that he had little to no chance to survive with what he had gone through as he was pierced with an antenna and was now fighting to get back to the Hab which is their space station.
So far he is talking to us and is attempting to break the fourth wall as he is talking to us the readers in a manner that would seem like he would be talking to us.
So far very interested to see what happens as the story progresses.
A lot of profanity which is in my opinion seems to make the text much more real in a sense of the character talking to us in a sense of how an actual person would talk in a situation in which he is placed in.
He is coming to check himself and everything seems to be in decent condition plus has enough resources to last him a while so he will be able to survive a bit longer but this brings the question of what he is going to do to get some communication with people on earth or even his own crewmates to rescue him.
He is a botanist and a mechanical engineer which is a weird combination but it is going to help attempt to survive on the planet Mars.
He is tasked with fixing the radio and has cubs ??? As in lions ?? Or baby lions?
Now having the ability to grow food he knows it will not last him 4 years since that is the next time a crew will come back and that’s even if they come back. Mark is feeling hopeless and does not know what to do now if there is that if the crew never comes back to save him if he has been presumed dead.
He can think quickly on his feet and that is helping him survive but he needs to do more to survive as he needs to make communication with earth and that is a whole dawn breaking task that requires a whole team with specialized equipment. Though it is not impossible. He just needs to refocus and not lose sight of what is important.
Mark is making progress with his current situation of being stranded.
He is showing no sign of getting closer to insanity but he talks to us as if we are there with him.
Since he is a mechanical engineer he is very calculated and since he can think on his feet he can figure out what he needs to have the resources necessary to survive and make his own makeshift farm which in it is an extraordinary feat.
I like the way that Mark is telling his story because he has no filter and this is showing the fact that he wants his story to be as transparent as possible.
He is constantly updating us with his entry logs
He is not afraid to die “There was a good chance that I would die here” showing the fact that he will not make it back to earth and is very pessimistic about his situation but is still trying to show some confidence.
He has made a bomb and now is living outside in a rover until he can figure out what he can do but he only
has two days to figure out what to do to fix the situation in the HAB
After much-calculated thoughts and action, we see Mark hasn’t killed himself and he can figure out a plan that is going to save the Hab and get him the water he needs.
He is now coming off as much more relaxed and rightfully so because he can continue his water production at the cost of not dying and he is starting to feel a custom to his new life on mars as he seems to be getting a hang of everything
Venkat Kapoor in charge of the mars operations
This chapter takes a look at life down on earth and the public is mourning Mark Watney’s death. Right after Mindy Park is trying to convince Venk to make sure that Mark is confirmed dead as for all they know he could still be fighting for his life and survival.
After assuming that he could still be alive the new mission at hand is making sure that he is confined dead or rescued alive,
The race is on to save Mark
This chapter takes a look at the other side of the spectrum in the book as I thought it was just going to be Marks perspective
We see a much more relaxed and confident Mark as he is more comfortable with his situation on mars
He is now wanting to travel the planet of Mars as he knows that Ares 4 will be landing in an off-site in 4 years roughly which is a long time and since he needs to be there when they land he will need to find a way to traverse all the way over there
He is slowly making progress and though it is very nerve-racking he is doing this all so he can go back to earth for his parents.
We jump back to earth and we see how all the resources are being transferred over in every attempt necessary to bring back Mark. We are taken back with Mindy and she has now become in charge of tracking Mark and is given praise for her work of imagery.
They see Mark is making an attempt to get more resources and is now heading to Pathfinder which was an old Mars site used in the 90s
The US wants to make some sort of communication with him all he has to do is fix the machine or clean it up and it shouldn’t be too hard for him as he is a mechanical engineer and this should be easy for him despite what he already has done is much more complex, So communication is imminent
A quicker chapter but much development as we see that Mark has made it to the pathfinder He attempts to clean it up and needs to find a way to get everything working
He can get everything cleaned up and is now one step closing to communicating with people back on earth.
He has gotten a broken radio and that is the closest thing he has to get in touch with people. He is going back to the Hab to see what he can do to fix it.
After 3 weeks of travel to and from Hab to the pathfinder site, Mark has come back home to the site and can continue work
He is checking everything and this is smart on his end in order not to die from some humid water connection malfunction.
He is very optimistic at this point as he realizes that he could make some contact back on earth and maybe all is not lost.
This book is doing a very good job at telling this story as it feels like I am in his perspective and he is very technical with his storytelling as he goes into detail with each thing Mark has to do and tells why something has to be done in a certain manner otherwise it could lead to his own demise.
Very importantly connection is established and he is almost in grasp with humans once again Chapter 11
Personally, I see a Deadpool esk character in Mark as he is able finally to establish communication with the people on earth, and though it is small messages it is enough to get Venk to get people to work as the whole world is now watching the mission to get Mark back to earth.
He is cursing a lot and he is making jokes in a sense as he does not have a filter as previously stated and this is why he reminds me of the Deadpool character as neither have a filter.
But this chapter is very fulfilling as we see that after much work from Mark is done it is all for good as he can establish a connection and this is what he has been fighting for his entire stay on Mars.
This is a chapter completely different as we see the events that transpired before Mark was lost on Mars
We see how the crew was all having a good time before the storm had hit them. As they were on their way to getting back on to the MAV they followed commander Lewis’s orders and it was then when they realized that they had lost Mark.
4 months later the crew is finally given the news that Mark is still alive but Lewis feels bad for leaving him there all this time despite his readings showing that he was dead. It is something that will haunt him for the rest of his life.
We see this communication between him and the people on earth.
Mark is now communicating with people and now that he is communicating this is allowing him to have some gain back some sanity as he was feeling alone and after many months of being alone, I’m surprised he didn’t have much more of a serious reaction toward him being alone for that long.
And it all goes from bad to worse has Mark now has an air leak and he is losing it Chapter 14
The air leak is now fixed but it came at a cost and now his farm is dead which limits his supply entirely.
He now has much less supply to last him till Sol 856 but most likely he will be dead by that time due to the gravity of the air leak
He is still not losing hope but it is coming to the point where soon everything will be carrying onto him and he will have a mental breakdown of sorts eventually
In an attempt to get Mark some supplies to Mars there seems to have been a delay due to technical difficulties.
In an attempt to cut time and send the ship out quicker they cut inspections which is their own downfall in doing so as this leads them to send the ship named Iris
On the day of the launch, it is sent out into space and this leads to a signal loss from the spaceship. Later realizing parts are coming down they see that the launch was a failure ultimately This is ultimately on Teddy as it was his idea to skip the inspection.
When realizing that by the time that they had a second probe and had it sent out to Mark with inspections and everything it would be 6 weeks late and with Mark most likely dead.
This leads Venk to come up with a meeting with Annie to find a new pitch, one faster to save Mark
The original crew in Hermès would have to go to Ares 4 and pick up Mark from there. It is a dangerous mission and it risks the lives of the other 6 members who are in Hermès.
They use the Rich Purnell Maneuver which is going to override the NASAs ruling and this could lead to a lot of trouble for the people who chose to override NASA’s rule
Once the current crew knows about the Purnell maneuver they start to change course and will make a different attempt at rescuing Mark
Mark has learned about the attempted rescue that the team attempts to make soon, with that being said he has to prepare to have picked him up and not waste any more resources than necessary.
He needs to get to Ares 4 and needs to make sure everything is good to go
He starts drilling to start making a trailer and this takes a long time this allows him to start connecting the power to the pathfinder and this causes him to lose power after having to reset the breakers
In doing so this causes all power from the pathfinder to be bricked. In other words, he does not have a connection to earth anymore.
Mark needs to get to Ares 4 and needs to get there soon as the Chinese Hermès resupply probe is launching soon and needs to be there when it arrives
Realizing he can get rid of supplies he doesn’t really need allows him to dump out a lot of unnecessary equipment
Needing a huge power supply he realizes he is going to need the RTG which is plutonium which is very dangerous if used incorrectly
Figuring out it is his only way of getting to Ares 4 he decides to do it regardless of the outcome
He also realizes that there is a small chance that his crewmates could die if the mission fails and he will feel responsible if that is the case.
This chapter seems to be focusing on the relationships of the other members that are a part of the Mark Watney rescue mission as many have extended their time on the mission to find and rescue Mark.
The probe launched successfully and this opens the relationship up between the US and China as a whole as this opens up a whole new relationship between them as they were able to work together and this allows them to get the supply dock at Hermès.
Now finished with Rover modifications Watney starts making a room to have that on his way to Schiaparelli which is where he is going to meet the rest of the crew.
He can create the bedroom and attach it to the rover.
He is confident in his ability to get to Schiaparelli
But he is afraid of finally leaving the Hab.
Watney is finally done packing and is just making sure everything is working in his rover.
Seeing that there is a small problem in his bedroom he is not phased as anything like this is as simple as placing a bandage over a small cut, everything he has done is much harder and all he has to do with his bedroom is fix it up with a spare canvas.
On Hermès we see that there is a relationship growing between both Beck and Johanssen which is weird as I didn’t think they would add some romance to this novel whatsoever but it’s minor so it’s not really important to the plot.
Going back to Watney we see that he is reflecting on his time on mars lonely as it may be; it has molded him into someone else, something else. A completely new person who is not afraid of anything unless it’s revolving around death then he might be scared.
He sets off to Schiaparelli. Without the aid of anyone as he is now on his own once again. Chapter 22
In this chapter, we see Marks attempt to get to Schiaparelli.
The crewmates on the probe Hermès are aware of the situation Watneys is walking into but they have no way of communicating the message to him. They aren’t as worried as they know he has survived worse and is capable of surviving the storm but his chances are slim.
Markdown on mars is navigating and does not realize he is in the storm until it is too late to go back despite this is ready for anything as all this time he has been in life dangering predicaments and has come out on top due to his quick thinking so this should not be a problem for him as he knows that he is also approaching something bigger in the storm and manages to make in error in his navigating but it seems to be a saving grace as it allows him to grasp the actual problem he is in.
Meanwhile, Mindy is also aware of the situation Mark is in and Mark sends Moore’s code to her stating that he is making a plan to get around the dust storm.
In the midst of being in the storm, Watney can calculate the amount of additional power trained when he is driving in the storm decides to use his solar cells to figure out what his best course of action is to do.
Once figuring out the way out of the storm he can travel the opposite way of the storm which would be south and then east.
Finally out of the storm he will arrive 4 days later but it’s better than having potentially been there and left for dead in the storm.
On his new route, he sees a mars exploration rover and sees this as a chance to have contact with humans but it would increase the delay at arriving by another 11 sols. He does not do this and this makes him look stronger as a character because he knows that despite him wanting to have contact with humans he knows he will not be able to do so if he does this now and will have more time when he is back on board on the Hermès ship.
Confident in his choice he keeps moving towards Schiaparelli and just when he is less than a day away from there rover flips over breaking and sending everything flying.
Watney is now in the final stretch per se and is so close to being home but now has one last obstacle before getting home.
After seeing what had happened to Watney, Mindy has been keeping an eye on him and his voyage and is aware of what just happened.
Waiting for a response from Watney all the NASA station back on earth can do is wait.
The condition of the rover is minimal and nothing too severe but it leaves the readers with a cliffhanger almost as one fears that it could be the end for Watney.
He makes a connection and there is a sense of relief down on earth.
He drives slower and this makes him remind him of his dad and how he used to drive really slow.
Finally arriving he eats a big meal as all this time there has been a connection between how much he eats based on what he accomplishes.
Finally, at the MAV he is very close to getting back to his crew.
He has to rationalize and get rid of dead weight which is nothing new to him and does anything to make sure his launch is successful.
After almost a year and a half, we see that this is going to be Watneys last day on mars. Though this is not what he expected as there is a chance at death he is excited nonetheless and anyone who has not been in contact with anyone would feel the same.
Watney leaves everything behind and is ready for the launch
Finally launched, Watney loses consciousness and he shoots up at amazing speeds.
He gains consciousness and the big ending occurs where he is finally back with his crew, back on earth everyone is cheering for the rescue of Watney.
For Watney, it has been over a year and a half since he has seen anyone and this didn’t lead him to give high fives nor did he have a bad reaction which is weird in the sense that how does one react to the idea of seeing people again after a long time especially when you have been alone to a long period of time. He is grateful but there seem to be no psychological effects that have phased him in his time alone.
The Martian Film annotations
The film starts with the point that leads to Watney being left alone on Mars. Different from the book as the film immediately starts with him alone on Mars.
Never thought I would get all squirming during a blood scene but it happened and that was disgusting as Mark had to the satellite piece out of him
The blogs are very similar to the book as of right now. He is documenting what he can do and the days are referred to as SOLs as well like in the book.
Even the team name Ares 3
22;40 poor camera work. How does it feel like he is alone when someone is clearly following him with a camera?
Vincent Kapoor from Venkat Kapoor in the book.
There is a similar conversation in the book and now seen in the film
Mindy Park is the one responsible for finding Mark Watney
The film does a good job of replicating the book although there aren’t as many blogs for the film compared to the book.
In the book, there is much more of an explanation for everything that is occurring.
I am already an hour into the movie and it seems like everything is passing by much quicker and this is not showing the complexity of the process that Watney went through to make contact with the people on earth.
The book goes more in-depth with everything, even down to the thought process of Watney’s journey which is crucial to the plot in my opinion.
They are skipping his frequent blogs and are only skipping to the one where Watney makes progress in the movie. I understand that there is a time frame for the movie but it does not allow the movie to show his story correctly.
For the most part, the movie does do a good job at replicating parts of the book and that is very rare as the majority of times there are many changes seen
1:06:00 We see the frustration of Watneys work all gone in the blink of an eye.
He still has communication with the Hermès crew which is the only thing that is keeping him sane from my perspective as he has not seen anyone and is starting to get communication tied up with earth and the Hermès crew. So it brings him some sort of sense that he is not alone as for all this time prior he has felt alone both physically and mentally.
Despite him having all this tech to entertain him it is not the same.
Even the Rich Purnell maneuver is acknowledged which shows that they are trying to be as true to the book as possible
There is a huge 7-month gap but there is no explanation as to why, I’m assuming there is nothing that they want to cover in that time frame but some little info would be appreciated as there is also a gap in the book and I thought there would be some explanation later on as well but it is understandable as when dealing with space as a setting it is harder for time to pass.
There is no sandstorm that Watney has to go through as he does in the book
He just arrives at the Ares 4 MAV and that’s it which doesn’t bring the suspense that starts to build up as he is almost home and with his space crew.
The emotion on Watneys face is very powerful as after a year and a half Watney is going to see people again. His emotion can also be seen nowadays because people in the pandemic have had to isolate themselves and to an extent, it has led people to miss social interaction so now we are in a time where we are starting to see the change back to the normal and this is leading people to see one another once again. When I saw this section I got a little sentimental and despite it being a film it’s able to move the viewer as we see the struggles that Watney went through just to reach this point. All the frustration and depression to get back to his crew and a year and a half of solitude to himself was worth it as he was able to come out of the situation and come back home. What a weird combination of botany and mechanical engineer to have but it saved his life knowing both sets of skills.
“The Martian.” Enotes.com, Enotes.com, www.enotes.com/topics/martian/themes.
This is where I first started my research as I wanted to see what themes I would be expecting to see as I read the book and watched the film. Other themes that were explained were themes of science and survival, friendship, and Man versus nature. This is where I also read about the theme of isolation which is what drew my interest in this book. When it comes to a book or film under the science fiction genre the theme of isolation is not as popular as technology is usually used as a premise to avoid isolation or loneliness. The brief explanation of how isolation is used as a theme and more so used to help drive the plot appealed to me because it states how one man’s mission to get back home is dependant on him not breaking down despite being on a completely different planet. The book despite it being a science fiction novel relies more on the psychological aspect and uses Isolation to see how one reacts to a situation as unprecedented as being stranded on Mars with no one but yourself to rely on and I thought to myself that this might be something different compared to what may have been done in class over the semester. The main character Mark Watney is completely alone and presumed to be dead so he has no one else to hear him or letting him cope with the situation, thus making everything for him that much more difficult. This is what got me considering the idea of the psychological toll that is placed upon someone who goes through a journey like that and how does it change someone.
Throughout last week I had focused on trying to get the reading done as well I try to find sources to provide to the project. While reading the book it has been an interesting task to do only because I personally don’t like to read and will only do so when it comes to academics, with that being said I found it difficult to put this book down as there were constant cliffhanger chapters in which something was happening and you had to turn to the next chapter to find out whether the character Mark Watney was still alive or not. Though it was a longer read than other texts we had done in class I am glad I choose this book because it is a text that I thought I would never be reading and now I can’t see myself not having read this book. As far as my annotations go I tried not to write down a summary of what was happening rather tried to get analytical with some chapters as some chapters are short and don’t require much afterthought but there are some chapters in which seem to be longer and need a lot of attention.
As far as my research goes I am in the process of finding as many resources as I can as far as the movie goes and what preparations were made for the main actor Matt Damon took to achieve the level of character he did for the Mark Watney role. Aside from that, I am researching the psychological toll that isolation can take on someone as though the situation that the character Mark Watney was placed in was one in a million some cases can happen that could be similar to his case. Especially with this pandemic, many faced some sort of isolation at one point or another and I want to inform my classmates about the negative effects that isolation can have on oneself as it can affect someone both health and performance.