About the Book

Book Protagonist: Mark Watney
Publication Date: 2011
Genre: Action and Adventure, Science Fiction


The Martian

By Andy Weir

Throughout Andy Weir’s 'The Martian,' there are numerous quotes that represent Mark Watney’s attitude towards his situation and demonstrate the impossibility of his predicament.

Rather than spending the novel brooding over and mourning where he’s found himself, Mark uses humor to make his life as easy as possible. The majority of The Martian is written in diary entries or logs, meaning that the reader is always aware of what Mark is thinking. Below, several quotes that best represent his attitude toward life, survival, and the people working at NASA are analyzed and explained. 

The Martian Quotes

Watney’s Humor

He’s stuck out there. He thinks he’s totally alone and that we all gave up on him. What kind of effect does that have on a man’s psychology?” He turned back to Venkat. “I wonder what he’s thinking right now.”

LOG ENTRY: SOL 61 How come Aquaman can control whales? They’re mammals! Makes no sense.

This is a beautiful example of Watney’s humor. While everyone on Earth is scrambling to figure out how to keep Mark fed and eventually get him home, he’s trying to keep himself occupied the best he can on Mars. He can’t spend every hour of every day thinking about how bad his situation is. Instead, he watches 70s television and listens to music, trying to keep his brain occupied. 

By my reckoning, I’m about 100 kilometers from Pathfinder. Technically it’s called “Carl Sagan Memorial Station.” But with all due respect to Carl, I can call it whatever the hell I want. I’m the King of Mars.

Here is another quote that represents Watney’s attitude towards his predicament. He’s able to use his sense of humor and sarcasm to understand his situation on his terms. By calling himself the “King of Mars,” he lightens his situation and makes it easier for him to deal with. These are the bits of his character that made the novel as popular as it is. If throughout the entire book, Mark had continually bemoaned his situation and expressed fear for the future, then it’s likely fewer readers would’ve found themselves interested in the novel. 

First on Mars

It’s a strange feeling. Everywhere I go, I’m the first. Step outside the rover? First guy ever to be there! Climb a hill? First guy to climb that hill! Kick a rock? That rock hadn’t moved in a million years! I’m the first guy to drive long-distance on Mars. The first guy to spend more than thirty-one sols on Mars. The first guy to grow crops on Mars. First, first, first!

This is one of the most memorable quotes from the novel. Watney is thinking about what it means that he’s the first person to spend so much time on the red planet. He’s the first to do so many things, from climbing a hill to moving a rock. Despite his predicament, it’s admirable that he’s able to take some pleasure in these remarkable moments. 


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’s found in every culture without exception. Yes, there are assholes who just don’t care, but they’re massively outnumbered by the people who do.

This is another well-known quote from the novel. Watney is thinking about what it takes to save those who have gotten lost, as he has (in a way). Despite the darkness found in humanity, there is still a capacity to come together and help, as those on Earth do to save him. 

Tech Failure

The screen went black before I was out of the airlock. Turns out the “L” in “LCD” stands for “Liquid.” I guess it either froze or boiled off. Maybe I’ll post a consumer review. “Brought product to surface of Mars. It stopped working. 0/10.

Mark uses the above quote when he’s describing what happened when he took a laptop outside. The “L” in LCD means “liquid.” This meant that the screen went black, freezing, and or boiling when it left the atmosphere of the Hab. In another situation, or with another person, there could be a very different reaction to this technological failure. Instead, because Mark Watney is the character he is, he takes it in stride, laughing it off and imagining what it would be like to give the laptop a product review online. 

If the oxygenator breaks down, I’ll suffocate. If the water reclaimer breaks down, I’ll die of thirst. If the Hab breaches, I’ll just kind of explode. If none of those things happen, I’ll eventually run out of food and starve to death. So yeah. I’m fucked.

Here, Watney analyzes his situation and imagines what’s going to happen if any of the important pieces of technology he has around him break. There is the Hab which, if it exploded would take his life. The water reclaimer breaking would mean dying of thirst, and the oxygenator breaking would result in his suffocation. He approaches these things with a clarity of mind that makes his situation as clear as possible. Plus, even if these pieces of equipment don’t break, he’s going to eventually run out of food and starve to death. 


What is the message of The Martian?

The message is that through perseverance and teamwork, anything is possible. One might also interpret the message that it’s important to respect nature at all times. 

Is The Martian scientifically correct?

The Martian has been praised for being very scientifically accurate. Much of what Watney does was painstakingly researched by Andy Weir

What is the “do the math” quoted in The Martian?

The quote is: “That’s all it is. You just begin. You do the math. You solve one problem, and you solve the next one, and then the next. And If you solve enough problems, you get to come home.” 

What is the first line of The Martian?

The first line of The Martian is: “I’m pretty much fucked.” Watney continues on to say: “That’s my considered opinion. Fucked. Is days into what should be the greatest month of my life, and it’s turned into a nightmare.” 


Emma Baldwin
About Emma Baldwin
Emma graduated from East Carolina University with a BA in English, minor in Creative Writing, BFA in Fine Art, and BA in Art Histories. Literature is one of her greatest passions which she pursues on Book Analysis.
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap
Share to...