26 pages 52 minutes read

Ray Bradbury

Zero Hour

Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1947

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Analysis: “Zero Hour”

“Zero Hour” looks at the Loss of Innocence among children and adults, focusing heavily on the differences between children’s and adults’ perception of the world. The central conflict is the disconnection between Mrs. Morris and Mink—and more broadly, between parents and their children. The end result is nothing less than the catastrophic: a successful alien invasion and presumably the overthrow of humanity.

Mrs. Morris’s attitude toward Mink and her “game” of Invasion fluctuates throughout the story in a manner fairly typical for a mother dealing with the whims of a child: She is alternately fond and annoyed, indulgent and critical. However, these moods are underscored by a prevailing attitude of dismissal. Whether she’s enjoying Mink’s antics or tired of them, she never takes Mink seriously. Her dismissive attitude points to the complacency adult society shares in the story in general. This can be seen early on, when the third-person narration that has predominantly stuck closely to Mrs. Morris’s point of view opens up to give a more omniscient impression of the world, as held by adults at large:

In a thousand other cities there were trees and children and avenues, business men in their quiet offices taping their voices, or watching televisors.