43 pages 1 hour read

Ray Bradbury

A Sound Of Thunder

Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1952

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Nostalgia and the Threat of Fascism

The story takes place in the wake of a close election between a democratic candidate, Keith, and an authoritarian one, Deutscher. Deutscher’s German name nods to the recently toppled Nazi regime in Germany, and his politics resonate with Cold War-era fears about authoritarianism and threats to democracy from the Soviet Union. In this sense, the election between Keith and Deutscher represents a larger ideological struggle between fascism and democracy.

An element of nostalgia, related to fascist ideologies, is present in the story. In the beginning, Eckels contemplates what would happen if Deutscher had been elected, and he jokes that had the election gone the other way, he would be seeking refuge in the past. The officer adds that Time Safari has been receiving calls from half-joking clients wanting to escape to the past. The past is presented as a simpler time before the conflicts and confusions of the modern world.

While Eckels and other characters see the past as an exotic place full of adventure and available to them for exploration and exploitation, the present political situation is threatened by the possibility of fascism, represented by Deutscher. Since it is Eckels’s actions while on this nostalgic, exotic trip to the past that bring about the authoritarian rule of Deutscher, the implied message is that nostalgia may seem innocent or enticing, but in fact, it can directly feed fascist ideology.