This study guide will help you analyze the text “A Sound of Thunder” by Ray Bradbury. We will show you examples of elements in the text that will be relevant for your analysis. In these notes, we will focus on plot and structure, characterization, themes.
- Title: “A Sound of Thunder”
- Author: Ray Bradbury
- Genre: Short Story
- Year of Publication: 1952
Ray Bradbury was an American writer, mostly famous for his fantasy, horror, science fiction and mystery literature. His literary works were translated in over 40 languages and sold around the world, many being adapted into films. Bradbury’s most famous novel is “Fahrenheit 451”.
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Motif: the sound of thunder
The sound of the thunder is what gives the title of the short story. Ray Bradbury’s choice is not random. Notice how, in the short story, the sound of thunder is connected to several things:
A Tyrannosaurus rex. The Thunder Lizard, the damnedest monster in history.
Silence. A sound of thunder. Out of the mist, one hundred yards away, came Tyrannosaurus Rex.
The rifles cracked again. Their sound was lost in shriek and lizard thunder.
He did not move. Eyes shut, he waited, shivering. He heard Travis breathe loud in the room; he heard Travis shift his rifle, click the safety catch and raise the weapon. There was a sound of thunder.
Thunder is the noise heard before the lightning, the one which announces something powerful. In the short story, the motif of the thunder is used to announce the appearance of the dinosaur or the death of Eckels. Thunder is connected, at the same time, with power and loss of power, when the dinosaur and Eckels are killed.