“For the United States of America”
This line uttered by Frank is quite interesting. It seems safe to assume that Frank’s only real loyalty lies in himself. The United States has just been a ladder, which he has used to climb. After John Boone’s chapter this (faux) patriotic declaration becomes all the more jarring. John was more idealistic; he hoped that the Mars mission could shed its geopolitical past. Clearly that was not the case. However, the ominous transnationalists seem to be far more dangerous to the realization of John’s idea of Mars than any of the nations themselves. After all, Frank uses the United States like a ‘sledgehammer’ in order to halt immigration and to remind Phyllis who is in charge. It’s ironic that multinational groups, seemingly an indicator of humans looking past artificial borders, are the source of Mars’ woes. Once again, Robinson demonstrates that humanity still has its old vices. The way in which the vice manifests – religion, nationalities, sexuality – doesn’t matter. Humans will give the vice a new idea to wrap itself around. The particular vice here seems to be greed. It’s not the greed of the church or the state, rather a new conglomerate body.
“Everything seemed finished, done, revealed as pointless”
Once Frank finishes with the new treaty deal, he suddenly finds himself without purpose. What’s so interesting about this chapter is that Robinson gets the reader to feel sorry for Frank, who is a manipulative murderer. Without a political game to play, without an agenda to promote, Frank finds little meaning to his life. Robinson reveals Franks as a rather sad human being. Frequently throughout the chapter, Frank’s killing of John haunts him. He also remarks on his hollowness. Is it not somewhat tragic that the murder he has committed has caused him deep regret and a loss of purpose in life? After all, John kept Frank on his toes. With John around, Frank always had an agenda to promote, an agenda that had to compete with John’s. Or maybe this chapter is further damning of Frank. A man who can only find pleasure in manipulating others, in playing people against each other, in always being the one who comes out on top. What is certain is that Frank is a complicated character. Evil? No. This novel strives to keep evil out of it. Rather, he’s just a schemer, an avatar of manipulation. He’s no worse than the transnationalists consumed by their own avarice.