30 pages 1 hour read

Ray Bradbury

The Other Foot

Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1951

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more.

Literary Devices


Bradbury is fond of lyrical similes, where something is compared to something else using “like” or “as.” In “The Other Foot,” the children describe the hypothetical white skin of the approaching visitor, comparing it to dust, milk, chalk, and flowers. This inadvertently highlights the inaccuracy of the term “white” and “black” as a descriptor for pale or dark skin; ultimately, describing race this way is reductive.

As the story progresses, the comparisons turn more dangerous. Guns sticking up out of cars are “like telescopes sighting all the evils of the world coming to an end” (Paragraph 74); Willie searches for weapons while “cursing like a crazy man” (Paragraph 63); the crowd looks “like one dark body with a thousand arms” (Paragraph 84) and their heads move “like marionette heads on a single string” (Paragraph 120). The repeated use of similes allows Bradbury to connect ordinary, commonplace things to larger symbols. Thus, a crowd of people watching a single object becomes a set of Willie’s puppets, guns become instruments of seeing, and the Martian mob becomes a single, terrifying monster.


With metaphor, something is compared to something else without using “like” or “as.” Willie’s