A Contradictious Idea of Time Travel in Ray Bradbury A Sound of Thunder

April 27, 2022 by Essay Writer

The short story “A Sound of Thunder” by Ray Bradbury is about a group of people who time travel millions of years into the past to hunt a Tyrannosaurus Rex. The company, known as “Time Safari, Inc,” has a strict set of rules that involve the dangers of time traveling. As simple as the rules are, they have a severe impact if not followed properly. Simply stepping on a bug in the past could drastically change the future. “A Sound of Thunder” provides a great example on why time traveling should never exist in the real world.

The story starts off by giving the futuristic setting, which is a place named “Time Safari Inc.” The characters in the story include Eckels, a man who is eager to hunt the dinosaur, Travis, the guide of the Safari, Lesperance, Travis’ assistant, and the other two hunters, Billings and Kramer. Before the characters venture into the past, their current president is Keith. Keith’s opponent, Deutscher, is claimed to become a harsh dictator if he were to win the election. This factor becomes important later in the story.

As the group arrives to their destination, Travis makes it clear that they should never step off the directed path nor fire their rifles at anything other than the target Lesperance marked. When Eckles questions Travis, he responds to Eckles in detail about the potential consequences that may occur. Killing a butterfly will kill generations of the butterfly, which can cause predators to die because of a lack of the butterflies that never been born. This cycle continues up in the food chain, leading to mankind. Future nations can be prevented, past events are altered, and history is forever changed. Such a catastrophe further proves the message that time should never be changed, for better or worse.

The group comes across the Tyrannosaurus that has been marked by Lesperance. The great lizard lets out a thunderous roar that causes Eckles to panic. He did not have it in him to shoot the ferocious beast. Making his way back into the machine, Eckles accidentally stepped off the path. After the dinosaur is taken down, Travis becomes aware of Eckles’ grave mistake. Travis becomes furious at Eckles, threatening to kill him. It is human nature to make mistakes, but errors in a different time disrupts the natural order, making it too risky to attempt traveling through time.

As the group travels back to the present, Eckles and Travis search around the building to see if anything is altered. One of the first things that Eckles notices is the sign. The sign changed from reading, “Time Safari Inc. Safaris to any year in the past. You name the animal. We take you there. You shoot it.” to “Tyme Sefari Inc. Sefaris tu any yeer en the past. Yu naim the animall. Wee taekyuthair. Yu shoot itt.” This is when Eckles looks at the bottom of his boot and sees a dead butterfly. When he asks the man behind the desk who won the election, the man responds that Deustcher was elected president. The death of the insect from over sixty million years in the past caused enough change to elect Deutscher, the man mentioned earlier as a dictator, into office. This drives Travis to load his rifle, aim it at Eckles, and fire without a moment’s hesitation. “Time Safari Inc.” messed with time, which should never be tampered with, and paid the price when Eckles stomped the butterfly from the prehistoric era. “A Sound of Thunder” tells the reader why time traveling is not a good invention. Time plays a similar role with fate, meaning they continue without the interference of mankind. Ray Bradbury demonstrates thorough knowledge of how bad time traveling really is in his short story. As exciting as time travel sounds, it is far too risky to exist in the real world.


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