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A Sound Of Thunder Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1294 words Published: 28th Jun 2017

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Everything in life has a certain cause and effect whether it is good or bad there is always going to be a reaction to anything one does. This can be used to describe the “Butterfly effect”, which is a somewhat accepted theory. Ray Bradbury’s sharp imagination and knowledge helped to develop his story and portray his message that anything, big or small can and will have consequences in the end even if it is millions of years later.

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Ray Bradbury’s demeanor and philosophy had a lot to do with how he wrote his stories. When asked if patience was the reason he preferred short stories to novels he replied, “Turn a liability into an asset. My attention is not there. So, I write what I can write: short stories” (Weller). Most of Ray Bradbury’s work was in fact short stories. He preferred them over novels due to his lack of attention. When asked if his sense of optimism was important to his career he replied, “I don’t believe in optimism. I believe in optimal behavior. That’s a different thing. If you behave every day of your life to the top of your genetics, what can you do? Test it. Find out. You don’t know-you haven’t done it yet. You must live life at the top of your voice! At the top of your lungs shout and listen to the echoes” (Weller). Bradbury’s outlook on life certainly affected his way of writing, he was very positive and believed in achieving one’s own dreams and goals. His intelligence is much reflected in his writing. “Mr. Bradbury himself…saw the strange and miraculous everywhere, and mastered the art of spinning them into enduring yarns” (Machiko). Bradbury’s attitude and personality had a major effect on his style of writing. Science fiction being his forte his persona and his literature went hand in hand. Bradbury’s self-education and positive, inspiring outlook played a huge role in the way his writing was perceived.

The known “Butterfly effect” plays a big role in this short story. It is evident that “The term ‘The Butterfly Effect’ is often connected to Bradbury’s story” (Faye). The butterfly effect is a theory that supports the idea that one small change in time could alter reality forever. The role that the butterfly effect plays in the story portrays the main theme. “It’s an interesting coincidence that Bradbury chose a butterfly to symbolize the chaotic effect multiplied over time” (Taylor). Although the butterfly effect was not discussed in the story, it is obvious this is what Bradbury is referring to due to the series of events. This is true because in the story a trivial event such as crushing a butterfly could change the sequence of events in the future, which is the essence of the butterfly effect. “His illustration of a ripple effect on the timeline caused by a seemingly unrelated events over a long period of time Is not only demonstrated by the climax of the story but it is also explained in the context of the story” (Taylor). The ripple effect and the butterfly effect are essentially the same theory, the ripple effect having more to do with the consequences. Both of these theories mirror the central theme in the story. Both the butterfly and ripple effect set up the big idea or message behind the story.

Time travel also plays a substantial role in “A Sound of Thunder”. “Bradbury’s tale serves not only to entertain but also to speculate on the dangers of time travel” (Taylor). In the short story the crushing of the butterfly happens when a hunter goes back in the distant past to kill a tyrannosaurus. This shows that said “time travel” can be dangerous if it has the potential to alter and affect reality later down the road. “The encounter with the tyrannosaurus forms the heart of the story with Bradbury’s eloquent prose transporting the reader along with the hunting expedition sixty-million years into the past” (Taylor). The hunting trip sets up the rising action in the story which leads to the climatic event later on. Time travel obviously created a clear and present danger in the context of the story. “In the intervening 60 years, physicists have reconsidered our understanding of time and the plausibility of Bradbury’s classic tale” (Faye). Although Bradbury does talk about time travel and it is relevant in the context of the story, it is a fictional aspect of the story. I think Bradbury was focused more on the message and theme he was trying to get across rather than the fictional or non-fictional aspects of it. Needless to say Bradbury’s take on time travel did incite many questions from many people.

Bradbury’s story is based on a very relevant and knowledgeable topic. Faye states that “The story is interesting because of the whole concept of changing history, and that tiny change in the past could have enormous repercussions in the future” (Faye). Many positive outlooks have been inferred from this story. One message that this story could possibly send is that everything that is done will have some kind of outcome or consequence. Faye observes that “In Bradbury’s story tweaking reality 65 million years ago would either have no effect, or the ripples would have grown so large that all civilization would be different, or perhaps humanity wouldn’t have evolved at all” (Faye). This portrays the big idea of the future being altered due to one small event or change in time. The belief is that anything that is done will either produce a positive or negative outcome. An inference that can be drawn from the story is stated by Faye in saying that “The questions Bradbury raised about time remain unsolved. And so a sound of thunder remains provocative and influential, and its impact will send ripples through time for decades to come” (Faye). This story definitely requires a higher level of thinking to thoroughly comprehend due to the very complex ideas and theories that are involved within it. The story is a complicated piece of literature that can and has produce many different responses on the topic discussed. A Sound of Thunder showcased Ray Bradbury’s un-paralleled knowledge on time and the butterfly effect.

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Ray Bradbury was a self-educated, positive man. He never went to college or had any higher education but instead educated himself by visiting the library multiple times a week for over 10 years, through this; he developed a very keen understanding and skill for writing science fiction. His philosophy and message he portrayed in his writing and through the kind of person he was is that of an inspiring and intelligent one. Bradbury cared about the industry and line of work he was in and worried about the future of it. All of Bradbury’s writings all carry a message that requires an open mind and a positive outlook to fully understand and appreciate. A sound of thunder is a well thought out short story that addresses an event that humans engage in everyday, which is just action. The message that the whole story tries to accomplish is to think about an action before it is done, because no matter how small one might think that action is, the consequences could be enormous and have either positive or negative effects later on. Bradbury does a magnificent job of portraying this style of thought and outlook which is why he had a huge response to this short story by many different types of people and why he is a literary giant and a personal favorite to many who prefer reading intriguing, complex short stories.


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