Time? How do we depict it in science fiction? Analysis of “The Sound of Thunder”

George Xu


Assignment 2


What is time, and how do we portray it? Nowadays, many science fiction authors depict stories regarding time travel. Paradoxes and changes in history are the most prominent among them. For instance, the story “The Sound of Thunder” depicts a futuristic franchise that can send people back in time to kill animals. The main character, two other hunters, and two guides were to kill a tyrannosaurus. Yet, the story is more than what it seems. It has deep philosophical ideas such as “there are consequences to your actions”, “better safe than sorry”, and “don’t overestimate yourself”. Ray Bradbury, the author of this story, depicts in this short story that even changing something of infinitesimal importance of what should not be changed can cause enormous consequences later on.

To first notice this, we could look at the beginning of the story. At the beginning of the story, the official told the main character, Eckels, that “If he [the guide, Mr. Travis] says no shooting, then no shooting.” (Bradbury 1). After that, the official warned Eckels that “If you disobey instructions, there will be a penalty…plus possible government action, on your return.” (Bradbury 1). This demonstrates the severity of the issue. One could infer that the government would interfere as they fear of consequences. Additional support would include a part of the sign: “Safaris to any year in the past” (Bradbury 1). The government might fear damage to the world as some animals might have become extinct or some other details might have been changed.

The guides are all very cautious about what happens in the past. Later, after the safari has left the present, Mr. Travis, the guide, insisted that Eckels to “Stay on the Path!” and that “If you fall off, there’s a penalty.” (Bradbury 4). When asked by Eckels to explain, Mr. Travis said that “We don’t want to change to future. We don’t belong in the past” (Bradbury 4). This also shows Travis’s caution towards their time traveling. They even sent Lesperance, another travel guide to “note the exact hour, minute, and second” (Bradbury 7) the dinosaur was killed, as to prevent drastic changes. This was made to find only the animals “with no future, that are never going to mate again.” (Bradbury 7). He then exclaimed, “Do you not see how careful we are?” (Bradbury 7).

Yet, even with all these warnings, Eckels panicked, and “He ran off the path” (Bradbury 12). Travis was enraged and threatened to kill him: “I’m warning you, Eckels, I might kill you yet. I’ve got my gun ready.” (Bradbury 13). It can be assumed that Travis is threatening him because “Who knows what he’s done to Time, to History” (Bradbury 12).

Consequences, consequences, consequences…Eckels’ sudden panic has changed the world for the worst, all because of “a butterfly, very beautiful and very dead” (Bradbury 15). All because of one butterfly, the entire language of a nation has been changed, from “Time Safari, inc. Safaris to any year in the past. You name the animal. We take you there. You shoot it” to “Tyme Sefari, inc. Sefaris tu any yeer en the past. Yu naim the animall. Wee taekyuthair. Yu shoot itt.” (Bradbury 1, 15). Additionally, rather than Keith winning the election with most people despising Deutscher (or Lyman, in the graphic novel), Deutscher was the one who won, with the official–who previously insulted Deutscher–complimenting him for the very thing the official despises in the original timeline. Eckels “heard Travis shift his rifle, click the safety catch, and raise the weapon. There was a sound of thunder.” (Bradbury 15). Travis shot someone, maybe Eckels, maybe himself. But what would happen next, what would the survivors do? Can they change history back? We might never know…



More Information:

This is my analysis of the science fiction story “The Sound of Thunder”. This short story is made by Ray Bradley, who is a greatly distinguished author and screenwriter who participated in the production of many films and an author of multiple books. Science fiction and time are closely related, and this is depicted in this short story.

Literary Essay #3

One of the main topics in the book ‘The Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson’ is about loneliness. My idea about it is that there are many ways to enter and exit loneliness such as friends and being alone.

There are many ways to become lonely. The main way is by not having friends. Shirley was lonely at the beginning of the story because she doesn’t have friends. Shirley was also lonely because she didn’t have her family with her. she couldn’t spend time with them when she went to America. The shows that there are many ways to be lonely.

There are many ways to exit loneliness. As connected to my first argument, a way to leave loneliness is by getting friends. when Shirley got friends like Emily and Mabel, she was very happy. also connected to the my other Argument is that family can also help escaping the pull of loneliness. When people spend time with their family, they can also get out of loneliness. this is an example that there are many ways to get out of loneliness.

there are also many real life examples of this. when people don’t have friends at school, people will we very lonely. Another example is when my dad was in school. He had to live in the school and one night, the electricity ran out and he had to walk 4 hours in only moonlight back home.

There are many different ways to enter and exit loneliness. As shown in my third reason, this is related to many people’s feelings right now.


Literary Essays #1

In “The Boy Who Saved Baseball”, one of the main ideas is that happiness is very important is very important to many people. When we feel stress and anger, we don’t do our work properly. After winning we will all be really happy and we will do more efficient work. By winning, we will have high spirits.

In the book, the local team was challenged by an outside team and the Mayer bet their local baseball tradition. Because of all this tension, the local baseball team was all nervous. The pitcher can’t even throw the ball properly and missed by the meter.

When people get helped and win, they get very happy. In the book, the famous baseball player’s son started teaching them how to win and they won. After that, the team performed exordinarily in practise and won many other games.

Although they won the bet the Mayer did, when the famous baseball player’s uncle died, everyone was very sad and the workers of the town couldn’t do work properly. The uncle didn’t even update his will.

Happiness is very important and is shown in “The Boy Who Saved Baseball” hugely. This book has a very big and important moral for everybody. This moral is about how emotions can effect us on what we do. Nervousness and sadness will cause us to do bad work while happiness will raise spirit and will encourage us to do better work.

our emotions can effect how we work everyday. this is one off the main ideas of this book. in the book, happiness, sadness, and nervousness can cause many different results.