The Theme of A Sound of Thunder

 

No matter in real life or in the book of A Sound of Thunder, chronological Time Travel has been one of many of the great obstacles many of us humans have ever encountered in understanding the effect of a change in time.

The story of A Sound of Thunder is about a passionate hunter named Eckel in the year 2055, and how he paid a few thousand dollars to a time travel company to go back in time to kill the great King of the Dinosaurs, the Tyrannosaurus Rex. Later on, Eckel runs into a conflict with a guide from the Time Travel company, Travis; Eckel doesn’t really value / care the rules set up by the time travel company to prevent chronological conflict throughout history. When they arrived, they were told to step onto a path that the time travel company made to prevent tensions of the future and the past as actions such as leaving a footprint, a hat, killing even an ant could drastically impact their timeline. When they finally found a Tyrannosaurus Rex approved by the time travel company, Eckel instead decides to step off of the path, running off as he was extremely scared while stepping and killing a butterfly. When the crew returns with Eckel, they notice an immense difference in the world, a change in the English language, but also the fact that the recently elected president, Keith changed to the opposing leader Deutscher. Finally, as Eckel processes reality, knowing that he cannot go back and fix the mistake as that would cause a paradox, Travis picks up his rifle and kills Eckel, ending with A Sound of Thunder. Although the Story of a Sound of Thunder contains many different ideas of the main theme, I strongly believe that the main theme has to do with the power of our actions, especially how they impact the future, disregarding the idea of this book.

In the story A Sound of Thunder, by Ray Bradbury, I believe the main theme in the story identifies as, “A Small Thing Can Make an Immense Change.” ‘“Say we accidentally kill one mouse here. That means all the future families of this one particular mouse are destroyed, right?” “Right.” “And all the families of the families of the families of that one mouse! With a stamp of your foot, you annihilate first one, then a dozen, then a thousand, a million, a billion possible mice!”’ This quote directs to the fact on how kill one mice can destroy a whole timeline of mice, lasting over a million years or more. It shows how impactive your actions when time travelling can be, which connects to the main theme, “A Small Thing Can Make an Immense Change.” Not only can this connect to the story, but It can also be an example on how impactive it is in real life. As the story progresses, Eckel still doesn’t actually get the idea and consequences of Time Travel, he soon makes an even more impactive decision that unexpectedly causes a disruption in time. ‘“Embedded in the mud, glistening green, gold and black, was a butterfly, very beautiful and very dead. “Not a little thing like that! Not a butterfly!” Cried Eckels. It fell to the floor, an exquisite thing, a small thing like that could upset balances and knock down a line of small dominoes and then big dominoes and then gigantic dominoes all down the years across Time.” Eckel’s mind whirled. “It couldn’t change things. Killing one butterfly couldn’t be that important! Could it?” His face was cold. His mouth trembled, asking: “Who won the presidential election yesterday?” The man behind the desk laughed. “You Joking? You know very well. Deutscher, of course! Who else? Not that fool weakling Keith.” — Eckel moaned. He dropped to his knees. He scrabbled at the golden 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?”’ Towards Eckel, this shows how doing something as small as killing a butterfly compared to killing a person or changing a major event could lead to the death of himself but most importantly a change in their timeline which again supports the theme of this story.