26 pages 52 minutes read

Ray Bradbury

Zero Hour

Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1947

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Character Analysis

Mrs. Morris

Mrs. Morris serves as both the protagonist of “Zero Hour” and a representative of the entire adult population of the story. Although her actions do not drive the story, her inaction—and the inaction of parents like her—allows the events of the story to unfold. Thus, Mrs. Morris is less of a dynamic character than a passive one, but her passivity plays an important role in the development of the Loss of Innocence and Generational Alienation. She fails to understand that she needs to act because she believes that the children’s innocence makes them harmless, while her alienation from her daughter and childhood in general keeps her from understanding Mink’s intentions.

The climactic moment of the story arrives when Mrs. Morris realizes that her assumptions were incorrect. This realization comes on violently, and a parallel is drawn between what is occurring inside her and the literal explosions caused by the invading aliens:

All the subconscious suspicion and fear that had gathered secretly all afternoon and fermented like a wine in her. All the little revelations and knowledges and sense that had bothered her all day and which she had logically and carefully and sensibly rejected and censored.