A Sound of Thunder: The Significance of Small Actions

April 27, 2022 by Essay Writer

Everyone has a fear of something, but in some cases, it can make a big impact on someone else, or even something’s life. The narrative “A Sound of Thunder,” by Ray Bradbury, is about how even the smallest action can make the biggest difference; and in this case, cost someone’s life. Bradbury writes about a hunter who is seeking more danger and excitement from his hobby, hunting. For this reason, he pays Time Safari Inc. so he could travel back into time to hunt a Tyrannosaurus. The events that take place in this story all portray the moral of the story. In this short story, Bradbury uses irony, internal conflict, external conflict and some other devices to convey the theme of the story which is that even the smallest action can make the biggest difference.

One of the first literary devices used in this piece of work is irony; Bradbury uses this device in the lines “Makes you think, if the election had gone badly yesterday, I might be here running away from the results. Thank god Keith won.” This is ironic because the protagonist doesn’t know yet that he would come back to the opposite results because he killed the butterfly.

Another device used in this narrative is internal conflict; Internal conflict is used when the protagonist, Eckels, persuades himself to go on a time machine to shoot a tyrannosaurus. At the beginning he seemed unsure of taking the risk, then he got over himself and built up the confidence to decide that he would do it. Later on, when he sees the tyrannosaurus, he became hesitant to shoot because of its enormous size. This is also an internal conflict.

Last but not least, is external conflict; External conflict takes place when Eckels, the protagonist, suddenly becomes fearful of the one animal he was looking forward to shooting and runs back to the machine, which is where he kills a butterfly. External conflict is also portrayed when Travis threatens to kill Eckels because he stepped on the butterfly. In the end, Travis shot Eckels and that also is external conflict.

To sum it up, the theme of Ray Bradbury’s short story is that even a minuscule measure can lead to a substantial incongruity. Bradbury used mainly three literary devices to develop the theme of the story. First was irony which was used to build suspense and keep the reader’s interest. Second, internal conflict was used to make Eckels more human-like because everyone has at least one internal conflict in their life. Lastly, external conflict; external conflict is used to “stand in the way” of a character’s goals which then builds suspense like how irony does. Bradbury’s message to us through this story is to not be ignorant and let problems build-up, otherwise, they may overwhelm you.


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