Month: September 2018

A Sound of Change

What would you do when you meet a Tyrannosaurus rex during time travel? Would you bravely fight with the dinosaur, or would you run away just like Eckels, the protagonist? Eckels, after seeing the vast Tyrannosaurus rex, disobeys the rules on not going away from the path and receives a consequence that could be never thought of. In “A Sound of Thunder” by Ray Bradbury, small actions can result in great consequences.

Before going on the time travel, Eckels is warned by Travis that if a small change happens in the past no one can guarantee that the present time stays the same. Travis warns Eckels: “’Stay on the Path… We don’t want to change the Future… Step on a mouse and you crush the pyramids’” (Bradbury 225-227). The author emphasizes through Travis that a small change in the history can lead to consequences that cannot be altered back. Throughout the story, Travis constantly warns Eckels to stay on the path and do not modify the history. This explains the danger to the present times when the past is adjusted slightly. Another example of the theme is seen in the resolution of the story. Eckels becomes aware that he has changed the past. Eckels has only killed a little butterfly, but it resulted in the change of language and the presidential election. When Eckels come back to present time and he notices a change to the office, he cries, “’Not a little thing like that! Not a butterfly!’” (Bradbury 236). Eckels realizes the change of the English spelling and the result of the presidential election. The spelling of the signpost in the office changed, and the president became Deutscher instead of Keith.  A death of a little butterfly has caused a significant change in the history. He realizes that he cannot change the result of his misbehavior, and receives the consequence of death from Travis. Ray Bradbury constructs the theme of changes leading to consequences in the course of the story. It is the life lesson the Eckels learns after the time-traveling journey. This was warned from the exposition of the story, but he fully understands the meaning until he receives his consequence.

This theme could relate to dominos in real life situations. When building dominos, the slight touch of one block can result in the fall of myriads of other blocks. In “A Sound of Thunder”, the slight touch on the history from the butterfly has made the history fall and change. On the other hand, dominos could be rebuilt, but the history that has been already changed cannot be rebuilt. Do you think the time travel to the past was worth the danger to change the history?

Image Citation: Team, Glogster. “[2015] Edrea Low: A Sound of Thunder.”,

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