Essay on Burroughs, Edgar Rice. A Princess of Mars

Published: 2021/11/04
Number of words: 1181

Love and sacrifice are two elements that work together to control humanity. In the search for love, people make sacrifices that may cost them their life or even deeper consequences. Once someone takes passion in what they do, it becomes a part of their habit and later forms their character. The story in a prices of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs illustrates a situation where love, dedication, passion and sacrifice work together to create an illusion in the mind of captain John Carter. The story indicates that there is a better world that also requires determination and sacrifice to excel in higher ranks.

Being a veteran of war, Captain John Carter goes in an Indian camp to find his friend who was killed by them. In the process he heads to the hills to escape death by entering a mysterious cave where he falls unconscious and he is transported to Mars which a red planet is called Barsoom by the locals. There, he encounters a savage green alien race who come recognize him due to his physical abilities that make him leap greater distances than the rest. These abilities make him gain respect from the locals (Burroughs, 23). Later, he falls in love with the Dejah Thoris princess of the red men, a love that almost becomes a tragedy for him. When the greens enter war with the reds who control the desert’s planet canals and along with its agriculture, the reds capture the princess which makes Carter to go to rescue her. This makes him win the heart of the princess thus marrying her and becoming the prince of Helium. However, a certain breakdown of the atmosphere plant sustains the plant’s air supply thus endangering life of Barsoom. In an attempt to restore the factory Carter uses a telegraphic code to enter the factory but succumbs to asphyxiation only to wake up on earth without his beloved princess.

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The nostalgic desire to return back to Barsoom defines the ending of the story. Since what Carter experiences in the other land drives him crazy by filling his life with love that he has not witnessed for a long time he craves to go back (Stephan, Sedikides and Wildschut, 292). The nostalgic theme defined most stories in the United States the early twentieth century. This indicates that people yearn for what they have gone through in their past lives when they meet a new life that differs from what they had. When Carter finds himself on earth, he wonders what has happened to his love and the illusionary life that he has been leading on Mars. Regression is a human behaviour that people experience when they face situations that are different from what they have experienced in the past. Tucker (15) argues that the human mind searches for meaning to assemble a picture of the world that makes sense based on the past experiences. Such memories make people understand the meaning of life as they seek to determine the best course of life that is fit for them. When searching the past, memories of the best moments reincarnate in the mind making people desire to go back. This nostalgia is what Carter finds himself in as he tries to understand what is left of him.

On the other hand, the spirit of love drives Carter to attain the spirit of nationalism that makes him seek to sacrifice his life and take part in the war that the greens were fighting. Gullace (11) suggests that sacrificial events connect people with larger entities of the entire nation. Through love and sacrifice, people give everything for the greater good of everyone in the group, such actions are based on an immense power that Aalto (9) explains that this power is beyond human life making it difficult even for religions to explain why people go to such extents. The spirit of fighting for the nation and the need to recover his lover pushes Carter to wage war to bring back the princess and entering the factory to repair the air valve which eventually brings him back to the planet.

People make sacrifices that are greater and can cost their lives due to their love for others. When love comes in, people go an extra to do things that they could never have done if they were not in love. Suggests that humans have two opposing distinct instincts, the desire to erge with another and to remain alone (Kogan, Impett and Oveis, 1921). When two people meet especially of the opposite sex, biochemical changes take place producing symptoms similar to those with obsessive-compulsive disorder or limerence. Therefore, Carter, was faced with a situation where he overestimated the good benefits of the relationship and minimised the bad qualities thus leading him to making a sacrifice duw to an acute longuing for affection from the princess. When he falls in love with the princess and becomes the prince of the greens, a greater course is bestowed on him which could only be fulfilled through sacrificie.

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One element that comes out from the story is the fact that people should not be judged from what they look like. When Carter is captured by the greens, they see hims as a totally different individual who does not fit within the greens population. However, as he stayed with them more, he became a reliable source for them being their princess and even saviour for them (Burroughs, 35). by underestimating him and treating him as not one of them, it pushed carter beyond limits with the skills that he had thus making him one of the pillars of the green. This story illustrates how love and sacrifice work together to drive the ambitions of men. With the two, humans develop extraordinary powers that push them to higher limits not for the benefit of the individual but for a larger course in life and the benefit of others. Soldiers are driven with such nationalism spirits that make them heroes in their countries. Therefore, when people have a reason for their life, they are willing to push their life towards that course and ensure they achieve what they desire. Carter gives as such an example by putting his life on the course of love.

Works Cited

Aalto, J. “A Soldier’s Death – Who Actually Dies?” 2nd Symposium of the Nordic Network of Thanatology, Helsinki, Finland, . 2012.

Burroughs, Edgar Rice. A Princess of Mars. 15th. Kindle edition, 2013.

Gullace, N. F. The Blood of Our Sons. Men, Women, and the Renegotiations of British Citizenship during the Great War. New York: Palgrave Macmillan., 2002.

Kogan, Aleksandr, et al. “When Giving Feels Good: The Intrinsic Benefits of Sacrifice in Romantic Relationships for the Communally Motivated.” Psychological Science 21.12 (2010): 1918-1924.

Stephan, Elena, Constantine Sedikides and Tim Wildschut. “Mental travel into the past: Differentiating recollections of nostalgic, ordinary, and positive events.” European Journal of Social Psychology 42 (2012): 290-298.

Tucker, J. Life before life: a scientific investigation of children’s memoris of previous lives. New York: ST. Martins Press, 2005.

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