43 pages 1 hour read

Ray Bradbury

A Sound Of Thunder

Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1952

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Important Quotes

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“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.” 

(Page 103)

This quote introduces the association of time with fire. The time machine acts as the fire that burns the paper of time. This vivid imagery is representative of Bradbury’s style.

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“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.” 

(Page 103)

This passage from Time Safari’s advertisement evokes a nostalgic view of the past, and the poetic, descriptive language evokes the dazzling magic of time travel. The advertisement’s statement that “the merest touch of a hand” is capable of this conveys the sense of power that the company feels over time itself, and also conveys the fragility of the fabric of time.

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“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, anti­human, anti-intellectual.” 

(Page 104)

This quote gives the political backdrop upon which the story takes place. It situates the action right after an election that was narrowly won by a moderate candidate, and a relief to have avoided Deutscher’s presidency. It also foreshadows that the very situation they thought they’d avoided is now their reality due to Eckel’s own meddling in time. It is Time Safari’s hubris that brings about the change that allows Deutscher to be elected.