Introduction of “A Sound of Thunder” Lit-pic-project.
“A Sound of Thunder” is a science fiction short story by American writer Ray Bradbury. The short story was talking about how in the future time travel is no longer a dream. One company used a time travel machine to give people the opportunity to shoot dinosaurs. Every trip has a Safari leader to plan this whole trip and teach people how to shoot dinosaurs. However, due to a passenger that was too nervous mistakenly killing a butterfly, the original time period changed greatly. Because of a mistake, there was an irreversible chain reaction. It’s also called the butterfly effect. In “Sound of Thunder”, the author uses many literary elements to show the technology and human’s struggles. For example, irony shows to readers because of human’s mistake, the human has destroyed themselves. These literary elements make the story more interesting and suspenseful. In this project, the role of literary elements in this story will be explained and pictures will be provided. Every element had a quotation to showed the explanation.
“Eckels looked quickly across the large office. Hundreds of wires snaking together so as to look like a single mass, gave off low continuous sound. Metal boxes gave off ever changing bands of light… now orange, now silver, now blue” (Bradbury 1).
Explanation: Exposition is a literary device used to introduce background information about events, settings, characters, or other elements of a work to the audience or readers. The quote shows the machine is big, metallic and colourful, therefore, this painting used a quote to reflect the appearance of the machine. This quote describes what a time travel machine looks like. It gives readers a sense of mystery and interest in time travel at the beginning.
Rising Action Example #1
“The fog that had been around the Machine blew away. They were in an old time, a very old time indeed, three hunters and two Safari guides with their blue metal guns across their knees” (Bradbury 2).
Explanation: Rising action in a plot is a series of relevant incidents that create suspense, interest, and tension in a narrative. This quote shows they just arrived in an old time. This means the beginning of time travel. It is also the beginning of the butterfly effect. The painting shows the machine was surrounded by fog and the quotation also mentioned.
Rising Action #2
“‘Get me out of here,’ said Eckels. ‘It was never like this before. I was always sure I’d come through alive. I had good guides, good safaris, and safety. This time, I got it wrong. I’ve met my match. This is too much for me to handle'” (Bradbury 6).
Explanation: This quote shows when Eckels was scared and nervous when he saw the dinosaur. Here’s reaction pave the way for Eckels running away and shooting a dinosaur. The painting shows Eckels’s frightened expressions and movements. It followed the quotation’s content.
“Thundering, it held on to trees and pulled them with it. It pulled and tore the metal Path. The men threw themselves back and away. The body hit, ten tons of cold meat and stone. The guns fired.” (Bradbury 6)
Explanation: Climax is that particular point in a narrative at which the conflict or tension hits the highest point. This quote shows the hunters killing the dinosaur when dinosaur fell on them. They finish their purpose for this travel. Arthur used imagery to make the plot vivid. The imagery makes shoot dinosaur became the most exciting part of this story.
“He returned, shaking, five minutes later, his arms were covered in blood to the elbows. He held out his hands. Each held a number of steel bullets. Then he fell. He lay where he fell, not moving” (Bradbury 8).
Explanation: Falling action occurs right after the climax when the main problem of the story resolves. This quote shows Eckels got the bullets from the dinosaur’s body. This part means is the end of shooting dinosaur and a symbol of success in hunting dinosaurs.
“He did not move. Eyes shut, he waited, shivering. He heard Travis breathe loudly. He heard Travis lift his rifle, click the safety catch, and raise the weapon. There was a sound of thunder” (Bradbury 10).
Explanation: The final part of the story in which the strands of the plot are drawn together and matters are explained or resolved. The quote shows when they came back, they feel sad and depressed with changes. In the end, Travis grabbed the gun to leave the gun hanging, and the sound of the gun writer as a sound of thunder echoes the title and make readers feel suspenseful.
“The Machine sat in the ancient jungle. Distant bird cries blew on a wind. There was the smell of wet grass and an old salt sea. There were huge flowers on the trees the color of blood” ( Bradbury 2).
Explanation: A physical setting is a place where the action occurs in the novel. It creates a sense of mood that influences how readers respond to a story. This quote describes plants, animals and natural landscapes in ancient times. A detailed account of the story of the environment. This is a typical physical setting. The painting shows what the ancient world looked like, large animals and plants, which fits the story.
“‘It can’t be killed,” Eckels said quietly, as if there could be no argument. He had weighed the evidence and this was his considered opinion. The rifle in his hands seemed a toy. ‘We were fools to come. This is impossible.'” (Bradbury 5)
Explanation: Emotional setting is a literary element that evokes certain feelings or vibes in readers through words and descriptions. This quote shows Eckels’ nervousness after seeing the dinosaur. It also shows the tension that everyone feels when they shoot a dinosaur. It makes the story more interesting and makes the readers feel nervous and exciting. The painting shows Eckels’s tense communication with people after seeing the dinosaurs, which shows the tense atmosphere.
“Eckels gave out a long, low cry as if in pain. He dropped to his knees. He tried to pick up the green and gold butterfly with shaking fingers. ‘Can’t we,’he pleaded to the world, to himself, to the officials, to the Machine, ‘can’t we take it back, can’t we make it alive again? Can’t we start over? Can’t we…'” (Bradbury 9)
Explanation: A conflict in literature is defined as any struggle between opposing forces. Usually, the main character struggles against some other force. He tried to redeem his mistake, but nothing could save this world. This conflict is Man vs. Nature. It is an external conflict. The painting shows Eckles kneeling and crying because it could not help.
“It fell to the floor, more delicate and colorful than anything seen in this world. A small thing that could upset balances and cause small changes and then big changes and then huge changes, all down the years across Time” (Bradbury 9).
Explanation: The Ending Type is expository sad. Because of Eckels’ mistake, everything in the future will be changed. They will never return to the past. Readers feel sad, but it’s also a reminder of the pros and cons of technology. The painting shows what the future will look like after the change. Everything is so strange and sad.
“Eckels stood smelling the air. There was something different about it, a difference so slight that he could not identify it. The colors, white, gray, blue, orange, in the wall, in the furniture, in the sky outside, were not quite right. And there was a strange feel” (Bradbury 9).
Explanation: Irony is a difference between appearance and reality. This is dramatic Irony. Because the reader already knows that the future has been dramatically changed, but the characters still don’t know. The irony is the embodiment of human ignorance and folly.
“The jungle was wide and full of sounds. Suddenly it all stopped, as if someone had shut a door. Silence. A sound of thunder. Out of the mist, one hundred yards away, came Tyrannosaurus Rex. ‘It,’ whispered Eckels. ‘It…… ‘Sh!'” (Bradbury 5)
Explanation: Suspense is the intense feeling that an audience goes through while waiting for the outcome of certain events. It basically leaves the reader holding their breath and wanting more information. This quote shows before dinosaur appears’ description, and make the story more suspenseful and tension. The quote stated above is an example of keeping the stakes high because Because Eckles had a chance to fulfill his lifelong dream of shooting a dinosaur, he hoped to succeed.
“Eckels seemed unable to move. He looked at his feet as if trying to make them walk. He gave a cry of helplessness” (Bradbury 6).
Explanation: Characterization is a literary device that is used step-by-step in literature to highlight and explain the details about a character in a story. This quote shows Eckels as he prepares to escape. It shows his selfish side of abandoning others for his own safety. Through these actions, he shows his cowardice and selfishness.