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ENC1102 English Composition 2


Essay 4 Assignment

An Analysis of a Ray Bradbury’s Story or Three of His Stories

1. For your fourth essay you will choose one of the Ray Bradbury’s stories we will study in class, namely, “The Last Night of the World,” “A Sound of Thunder,” or “There Will Come Soft Rains” and write an analysis of the story. You can analyze any of the literary elements we have studied (characters, conflicts, settings, themes, etc.). However, you can choose to analyze
horror in the three stories, which I strongly recommend. If you decide to go that way, I suggest the following:

· One way to start is by identifying
horror. Find a suitable definition, and structure your introduction around it. Make sure your thesis refers to Bradbury’s use of horror in the three stories. You can find a good
horror definition here:

· Next, identify elements of horror in each of the three stories and the characters’ reaction to them. For example: the horror in “The Last Night of the World” is caused by the imminent end of the world. Then, there is the way in which the two main characters accept that reality.

2. Make sure you cite
at least one serious source that informs your analysis. Your essay should include at least one in-text citation that corresponds to the source you cited. Consult
Analysis p. 1180 in your textbook, Sixth Edition. Read the sample papers provided.


There Will Come Soft Rains

Ray Bradbury

In the living room the voice-clock sang, Tick-tock, seven o’clock, time to get up, time to get up,
seven o ‘clock! as if it were afraid that nobody would. The morning house lay empty. The clock
ticked on, repeating and repeating its sounds into the emptiness. Seven-nine, breakfast time,

In the kitchen the breakfast stove gave a hissing sigh and ejected from its warm interior eight
pieces of perfectly browned toast, eight eggs sunny side up, sixteen slices of bacon, two coffees,
and two cool glasses of milk.

“Today is August 4, 2026,” said a second voice from the kitchen ceiling, “in the city of
Allendale, California.” It repeated the date three times for memory’s sake. “Today is Mr.
Featherstone’s birthday. Today is the anniversary of Tilita’s marriage. Insurance is payable, as are
the water, gas, and light bills.”

Somewhere in the walls, relays clicked, memory tapes glided under electric eyes.

Eight-one, tick-tock, eight-one o’clock, off to school, off to work, run, run, eight-one! But no
doors slammed, no carpets took the soft tread of rubber heels. It was raining outside. The
weather box on the front door sang quietly: “Rain, rain, go away; umbrellas, raincoats for today.
..” And the rain tapped on the empty house, echoing.

Outside, the garage chimed and lifted its door to reveal the waiting car. After a long wait the
door swung down again.

At eight-thirty the eggs were shriveled and the toast was like stone. An aluminum wedge scraped
them into the sink, where hot water whirled them down a metal throat which digested and
flushed them away to the distant sea. The dirty dishes were dropped into a hot washer and
emerged twinkling dry.

Nine-fifteen, sang the clock, time to clean.

Out of warrens in the wall, tiny robot mice darted. The rooms were a crawl with the small
cleaning animals, all rubber and metal. They thudded against chairs, whirling their mustached
runners, kneading the rug nap, sucking gently at hidden dust. Then, like mysterious invaders,
they popped into their burrows. Their pink electric eyes faded. The house was clean.

Ten o’clock. The sun came out from behind the rain. The house stood alone in a city of rubble
and ashes. This was the one house left standing. At night the ruined city gave off a radioactive
glow which could be seen for miles.

Ten-fifteen. The garden sprinklers whirled up in golden founts, filling the soft morning air with
scatterings of brightness. The water pelted window panes, running down the charred west side


where the house had been burned, evenly free of its white paint. The entire west face of the
house was black, save for five places. Here the silhouette in paint of a man mowing a lawn. Here,
as in a photograph, a woman bent to pick flowers. Still farther over, their images burned

There Will Come Soft Rains

Sara Teasdale (1884-1933)

“There Will Come Soft Rains” is a 12-line poem by Sara Teasdale in her collection Flame and
Shadow, published in 1920. The poem imagines nature reclaiming a battlefield after the fighting
is finished. The poem also alludes to the idea of human extinction by war (lines 10 and 12),
which was not a commonplace idea until the invention of nuclear weapons, 25 years later. The
poem reads:

There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;

And frogs in the pools, singing at night,
And wild plum trees in tremulous white,

Robins will wear their feathery fire,
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;

And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,
If mankind perished utterly;

And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn,
Would scarcely know that we were gone.

The poem has six stanzas, each made up of a rhyming couplet.

The poem is also notably featured in the Ray Bradbury short story of the same name.

A Sound of Thunder

Ray Bradbury

The sign on the wall seemed to quaver under a film of sliding warm water. Eckels felt his

eyelids blink over his stare, and the sign burned in this momentary darkness:






Warm phlegm gathered in Eckels’ throat; he swallowed and pushed it down. The muscles

around his mouth formed a smile as he put his hand slowly out upon the air, and in that hand

waved a check for ten thousand dollars to the man behind the desk.

“Does this safari guarantee I come back alive?”

“We guarantee nothing,” said the official, “except the dinosaurs.” He turned. “This is Mr.

Travis, your Safari Guide in the Past. He’ll tell you what and where to shoot. If he says no

shooting, no shooting. If you disobey instructions, there’s a stiff penalty of another ten

thousand dollars, plus possible government action, on your return.”

Eckels glanced across the vast office at a mass and tangle, a snaking and humming of wires

and steel boxes, at an aurora that flickered now orange, now silver, now blue. There was a

sound like a gigantic bonfire burning all of Time, all the years and all the parchment

calendars, all the hours piled high and set aflame.

A touch of the hand and this burning would, on the instant, beautifully reverse itself. Eckels

remembered the wording in the advertisements to the letter. Out of chars and ashes, out of

dust and coals, like golden salamanders, the old years, the green years, might leap; roses

sweeten the air, white hair turn Irish-black, wrinkles vanish; all, everything fly back to seed,

flee death, rush down to their beginnings, suns rise in western skies and set in glorious easts,

moons eat themselves opposite to the custom, all and everything cupping one in another like

Chinese boxes, rabbits into hats, all and everything returning to the fresh death, the seed

death, the green death, to the time before the beginning. A touch of a hand might do it, the

merest touch of a hand.

“Unbelievable.” Eckels breathed, the light of the Machine on his thin face. “A real Time

Machine.” He shook his head. “Makes you think, If the election had gone badly yesterday, I

might be here now running away from the results. Thank God Keith won. He’ll make a fine

President of the United States.”

“Yes,” said the man behind the desk. “We’re lucky. If Deutscher had gotten in, we’d have the

worst kind of dictatorship. There’s an anti everything man for you, a militarist, anti-Christ,

anti-human, anti-intellectual. People called us up, you know, joking but


The Physics of Ray Bradbury’s “A Sound of Thunder”

Faye Flam

Source: http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/evolution/Time-and-The-Physics-of-Ray-Bradbury–

In Ray Bradbury’s vision, reality was a fabric so delicate that the crushing of a butterfly could
ripple up through 65 million years to change the results of an election.

Bradbury painted that scenario in his 1952 story, “A Sound of Thunder.” The butterfly was
victim of a misstep by a big game hunter who travelled back in time to pursue the thundering
prize known as tyrannosaurus Rex.

The dinosaur had been fated to die, but the insect’s untimely demise had haunting consequences
that confronted the hunter upon his return to his departure date of 2055. Not only did he learn
that a more dictatorial candidate had won a recent election, but nothing was quite the same,
including written English. A sign read: SEFARIS TU ANY YEER EN THE PAST. YU NAIM

When Bradbury died this month at the age of 91, more than half the time had elapsed between
the writing of the story and the futuristic date in which it was set. In the intervening 60 years,
physicists have reconsidered our understanding of time and the plausibility of Bradbury’s classic

“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,” said physicist Paul Halpern, who
discusses the story in a Nature of Time class he teaches at the University of the Sciences.
“This idea that reality is so fragile and just a very slight tweak will lead to big differences—
that’s connected to chaos theory,” said Halpern, whose newest book “The Edge of the Universe”
is coming out this fall.

The term, “The Butterfly Effect” is often connected to Bradbury’s story, Halpern said, but the
phrase originated with meteorologist Edward Lorenz, who proposed in the 1960s that the beat of
a butterfly’s wings on one side of the world would eventually cause a storm on the other. This
was meant to illustrate chaos theory and the impossibility of predicting the weather more than a
few days or weeks in advance.

Chaos theory is well accepted in scientific circles, at least when time goes the expected direction,
but in the Bradbury story, time travel led to two contradictory versions of reality following the
butterfly’s death.


Physicists disagree on whether someone travelling into the past could have any impact on the
unfolding of events, said Halpern. “A lot of physicists say there has to be some self-consistency.”
Like other time travel tales, Thunder raises some serious questions about the nature of time, such
as why it has a direction at all, why it seems to be ripping along like a tidal current, and whether
we can

The Last Night of the World – Ray Bradbury

“WHAT would you do if you knew that this was the last night of the world?”

“What would I do? You mean seriously?”

“Yes, seriously.”

“I don’t know. I hadn’t thought.”

He poured some coffee. In the background the two girls were playing blocks on the parlor rug in the
light of the green hurricane lamps. There was an easy, clean aroma of the brewed coffee in the
evening air.

“Well, better start thinking about it,” he said.

“You don’t mean it!”

He nodded.

“A war?”

He shook his head.

“Not the hydrogen or atom bomb?”


“Or germ warfare?”

“None of those at all,” he said, stirring his coffee slowly. “But just, let’s say, the closing of a book.”

“I don’t think I understand.”

“No, nor do I, really; it’s just a feeling. Sometimes it frightens me; sometimes I’m not frightened at
all but at peace.” He glanced in at the girls and their yellow hair shining in the lamplight. “I didn’t
say anything to you. It first happened about four nights ago.”


“A dream I had. I dreamed that it was all going to be over, and a voice said it was; not any kind of
voice I can remember, but a voice anyway, and it said things would stop here on Earth. I didn’t
think too much about it the next day, but then I went to the office and caught Stan Willis looking out
the window in the middle of the afternoon, and I said a penny for your thoughts, Stan, and he said, I
had a dream last night, and before he even told me the dream I knew what it was. I could have told
him, but he told me and I listened to him.”

“It was the same dream?”

“The same. I told Stan I had dreamed it too. He didn’t seem surprised. He relaxed, in fact. Then we


started walking through the office, for the hell of it. It wasn’t planned. We didn’t say, ‘Let’s walk
around.’ We just walked on our own, and everywhere we saw people looking at their desks or their
hands or out windows. I talked to a few. So did Stan.”

“And they all had dreamed?”

“All of them. The same dream, with no difference.”

“Do you believe in it?”

“Yes. I’ve never been more certain.”

“And when will it stop? The world, I mean.”

“Sometime during the night for us, and then as the night goes on around the world, that’ll go too.
It’ll take twenty-four hours for it all to go.”

They sat awhile not touching their coffee. Then they lifted it slowly and drank, looking at each

“Do we deserve this?” she said.

“It’s not a matter of deserving; it’s just that things didn’t work out. I notice you didn’t even argue
about this. Why not?”

“I guess I’ve a reason,” she said.

“The same one everyone at the office had?”

She nodded slowly. “I didn’t want to say anything. It happened last night. And the women on the
block talked about it among themselves today. They dreamed. I thought it was only a co

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