", is a short story
by Ray Bradbury
from his collection of short stories, The Illustrated Man
. In it, Bradbury conjures a conflict between man and machine and depicts the human dependence on technology, a common theme for Bradbury's stories.
Smith and Braling, both men of middle age, find themselves trapped in their marriages. Braling (whose wife is nervous and authoritarian) and Smith (whose wife is too dependent and constantly demands his presence and affection) both long for personal freedom. However, both characters fear the uncertainty of change and the possible consequences of their selfish desires, and thus endure their situation.
Smith learns about "marionettes", exact robotic duplicates produced by Marionettes, Inc. The manufacturer, whose motto is "No Strings Attached", markets the marionettes as temporary replacements for the customer. Braling reveals to Smith that he has been using a marionette to fulfill his obligations as a husband while he pursues his personal interests. His wife is completely unaware of the duplication, and he plans to visit Rio De Janeiro
while his marionette is replacing him at home. Braling shows off his marionette to Smith. Smith, fascinated by this solution, decides to buy his own marionette to escape his domestic prison.
Conflict is introduced when Braling's duplicate expresses emotions towards Braling's wife, and resists Braling's attempts to remove the marionette from... Read More