The Importance of Detail in A Sound of Thunder: A Society Gone Corrupt In the short story, “A Sound of Thunder”, Ray Bradbury employs detail of the consequences of killing one mouse to show how society has developed into one that has lost emotions and the true meaning of a life. This reoccurring idea of a chain reaction drives the story and eventually causes the death of the protagonist. From the beginning of the novel through the Time Safari guide, Bradbury places high emphasis on the one mouse and the after-lying effects of killing.Bradbury explicitly, yet indirectly, parallels the story of the mouse to society and humanity. Only through the explanation and story of the mouse, could Bradbury further the story and foreshadow the conflict that was to come.
Bradbury shows through his repetition, the lack of sentiments have overcome the developed society. Bradbury reveals his opinion through the repetition because of the emphasis put on the story of the mouse and the byproducts of killing it.The reader hypothetically sees, through the pictures painted by the travel guide Travis, that one trivial matter and one wrong move could destroy an “entire history of life” (Bradbury 4). The problem with humanity today is, according to Bradbury, that humankind does not have the time to stop and value the cost of a life. This meaningful life has the ability to alter the state of millions and millions of lives. Through Travis the Time Safari tour guide, Bradbury shows the reader that stepping on a mouse is like “crush[ing] the Pyramids and “leaving your print” like the Grand Canyon over Eternity (Bradbury 4).Humanity goes far enough to forget about the present and not only about the future. Relationships and the bond that was once present between the people of a society have diminished so much that man is engulfed in what will happen in the next four months or year rather than the problems at present, though they are “not even born” or thought of yet (Bradbury 5).
The inability of a society to function properly comes through Bradbury’s constant reference to the idea of chain destruction.Society at its present is on its way to a certain failure in the future because of two things, according to Bradbury: 1) the inability to listen to directions, causing the chain destruction that Bradbury knew was evident 2) the lack of cohesiveness between the members of society. It is the most evident that Bradbury believes in the chain destruction when the protagonist himself goes through the situation and in the end, as stated by Bradbury, is murdered.
Though not planned or foreshadowed early in the novel, Bradbury sends the message that we are the ones who will start and finish this ripple effect in the end. Through the protagonist and the Time Safari guide, Travis, Bradbury shows the reader that society has become indifferent when dealing with emotions and relationships. Though there were warnings and consequences laid out, the protagonist still broke the rule and initiated the ripple effect. At first, everything seems to the norm, but when the group returns to their present time, everything had gone corrupt and the opposite of what it was before.All of this only occurred simply because of a small butterfly that was stuck on the bottom of the protagonist’s shoes. Bradbury shows the reader through the death of the protagonist and butterfly that the smallest things in the world affect everyone in the end. According to Bradbury, society has forgotten the impact of one small mouse. Work Cited Bradbury, Ray.
“A Sound of Thunder. ” R is for Rocket. 22 Oct. 2009.
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