Chapter five, The Taxpayer, first appeared in The Martian Chronicles. A man insists that he has a right to get on the next rocket to Mars, because he is a taxpayer. He insists on being let on the ship so strongly because the Earth will be having a great atomic war soon, and no one wants to be around when it happens. He is not allowed on the ship and eventually gets taken away by the police.
Pritchard – An American taxpayer.
The protagonist is Pritchard. He wishes to go to Mars to avoid atomic war on Earth. The antagonist is the United States government, who ignores him. The climax is when his demand to join the third expedition falls on deaf ears. The outcome is he remains on Earth.
There are two themes. The first is escape from a horrible situation. The second is a false sense of entitlement. The phrase “I’m a taxpayer” is often used to protest perceived poor treatment at the hands of the government.
Pritchard demands to go to Mars to avoid atomic war on Earth. His request is refused.
The foreshadowing of an atomic war is brought to the forefront in this brief vignette. Pritchard’s desperation seems unwarranted: he may be considered a crank, someone whose dissatisfactions are out of proportion from the reality of the situation. And yet, there are subtle hints in other stories that indicate the extent of the problem: that only Americans make the voyage to Mars, indicating a strong rift in international relations; the disillusionment about humanity that Spender expresses quite fatally on the fourth expedition. In a way, Pritchard is a prophet unheeded by his people.