The short story “A Sound of Thunder” by Ray Bradbury takes place in Time Safari Inc, a company that travels back into the future to kill any animal you want. Eckels is told the rules he must follow in order to keep the present exactly how it is. If he disobeys the rules, he will face consequences, a fine and potentially government action. Eckels and Travis, along with the rest of his group, Lesperance, Braling and Kramer, travel 60 million years back into the future to prehistoric times when dinosaurs were alive and not a single human being. Eckels exhilarated to kill a dinosaur, he panics and runs off in horror once he sees how big the tyrannosaurus actually is. Eckels runs back to the time machine and goes off the floating path, unaware of what he had just done. In order for Eckels to return back home, he must clean all the bullets from the dead tyrannosaurus so that it would not disrupt the environment. Once they all travel back to the present day, they original sign Eckels had seen when he first walked in, the language had changed and the colours on everything looked different slightly. He discovers that while he walked off the floating path, he had stepped on a butterfly and changed the future. For this project, there are 13 different categories in which there must be a quotation from the short story along with an image representing that quote. An explanation is required to explain the connections between the quote with the particular literary element.
– “The sign on the wall seemed to to be moving under a thin film of warm water. Eckels closed his eyes for a moment, the sign burned in his memory:
TIME SAFARI, INC.
SAFARIS TO ANY YEAR IN THE PAST. YOU NAME THE ANIMAL.
WE TAKE YOU THERE.
YOU SHOOT IT.” (Bradbury 1).
The exposition is about introducing to the reader the setting, characters, and background information so they can understand the story. This is where Eckels is introduced as he reads the sign up inside the company at Time Safari INC. The sign says “SAFARIS TO ANY YEAR IN THE PAST”, this tells the reader that this story takes place in the future with more developed technology allowing people to time travel back into the past to kill animals that may or may not still exist.
b) Rising action #1
– “Stay on the Path. Don’t go off it. I repeat. Don’t go off. For any reason!” (Bradbury 2)
The rising action involves a series of incidents that all lead up the the climax of the story. Rising actions are meant to create suspense for the reader and can give some foreshadowing into the future. Travis is warning Eckels to not step off the path no matter what. This is preventing them from changing the future and no harm done.
c) Rising action #2
– “‘Safety catches off, everyone!’ ordered Travis” (Bradbury 5).
The rising action involves a series of incidents that all lead up the the climax of the story. Rising actions are meant to create suspense for the reader and can give some foreshadowing into the future. Eckels, Travis, Kramer, Billings and Lesperance are preparing for the tyrannosaurus to come to them. Getting their guns ready so they do not panic and rush.
– “But the immediate thing was the sign painter on the office wall, the same sign he had read earlier today on first entering. Somehow, the sign had changed:
TYME SEFARI INC.
SEFARIS TU ANY YEER EN THE PAST. YU NAIM THE ANIMALL.
WEE TAEK YU THAIR.
YU SHOOT ITT.” (Bradbury 9)
The climax is the part of the story where it is at its highest point of tension and the crisis is revealed. This is right after Eckels and the safari group return back from the past to discover that the language has changed. This means that Eckels did something he was not supposed to, he was not following the rules.
e) Falling action
– “Stuck in the mud was a brightly colored butterfly, very beautiful and very dead. ‘Not a little thing like that! Not a butterfly!’ cried Eckels” (Bradbury 9)
Falling action happens right after the climax, when the crisis begins to resolve itself and find the solution and starts to end the story. The reason for the language change was because Eckels stepped off the path for a few steps. This was against the rules and he stepped on a butterfly, killing it instantly.
– “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).
The denouement is the ending of the story, where loose ends are tied up and resolved. Eckels, in horror of what he had done, in shock and horrified. For disobeying the rules that were very clear from the start of the trip, he must suffer his consequences. From some foreshadowing from the rising action #2, it is implied that Travis shoots Eckels for what he has caused.
g) Physical setting
– “He indicated a metal path that went off into the distance, over a streaming swamp among giant trees and plants” (Bradbury 2).
The physical setting of a story is where a story takes place, such as the time, place and mood. This story, begins in the safari company in 2055 but majority of the story takes place back in prehistoric times, 60 million years into the past in a jungle.
h) Emotional setting
– “‘Yes.’ 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).
Emotional setting gives the tone and atmosphere of the story that brings the reader in more. The story turns from excited to horrified as Eckels views the tyrannosaurus coming towards them. He is in shock and is panicking.
i) Conflict type
– “‘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).
Conflict types are issues between opposing forces. There can be internal and external conflicts that makes a story more interesting and tense. This quote shows an internal conflict, person vs self. Eckels is having doubts about his ability to kill the tyrannosaurus, he’s lacking his confidence he has.
j) Ending type
– “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” (Bradbury 10).
There is many different ending types, expository sad where loose ends are tied up and everything is resolved with a sad ending, expository happy with a happy ending and unresolved/cliffhanger, is when the story leaves the reader still wondering what happens. This ending is unresolved because it is implied that Travis shoots Eckels, but what if Travis shot himself.
– “‘I didn’t think it would be this big,’ said Eckels. ‘I made a mistake, that’s all. And now I want out.'” (Bradbury 6)
Irony is when the words are used and the intended meaning is different from the actual meaning. This can make stories more exciting and makes the reader anticipate. There are different types of irony, situational irony is when you expect something to happen and the opposite happens. When Eckels see’s the dinosaur, the one he was so excited to kill, once he see’s how big it really is, he doesn’t want to kill it anymore, he wants to go back home.
– “He looked as if he could not understand what was happening, and took a few small steps” (Bradbury 6).
Suspense makes the story more intense by creating issues or time lines. This makes the reader anxious to find out what is going to happen next. After Eckels freaks out when he sees the dinosaur, he panics and steps off the pathway he was told not to go on under any circumstances. This is important because we don’t know if he changed the present and how much it will change his life.
– “‘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).
Characterization is the way the author present to the reader the characters personality, using indirect or direct characterization. This way the reader gets to know more about the characters and develop connections throughout the story. This quote shows how Eckels was being overconfident. He is a very confident guy who doesn’t know his limit until he meets the dinosaur, overwhelming him and he realizes he has mad a big mistake.