[2015] Edrea Low: A Sound of Thunder

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[2015] Edrea Low: A Sound of Thunder

Characters

A Sound of Thunder

There are five main characters in A Sound of Thunder: Eckels, Travis, Lesperance, Billings, and Kramer. Eckels is a hunter who is pays ten-thousand dollars to go back in time in order to shoot the biggest game: the dinosaur. As the story goes on, you can see that he has a lot of confidence in himself, but when it comes down to the actual situation he is not a very brave man. When he sees the dinosaur, Eckels says, “Get me out of here. It was never like this before. I was always sure I’d come through alive. I had good guides, good safaris, and safety. This time, I figured wrong. I’ve met my match and admit it. This is too much for me to get hold of.” From his words, you can tell that he had thought he could take any challenge, but loses confidence in the face of danger.Travis is the Safari Leader. He is the toughest man in the group and seems to be very concerned for his company. In the story he says, “We don’t want to change the Future. We don’t belong here in the Past. The government doesn’t like us here. We have to pay big graft to keep our franchise.” From these words you can tell that he wants to be extra careful about going back in time so that the company wouldn’t lose their franchise. He also says to Eckels, “Go out on that Path alone,” said Travis. He had his rifle pointed. “You’re not coming back in the Machine. We’re leaving you here!” He says this after Eckels walked out onto the dirt, potentially altering the future. By this sentence, you can tell that Travis has no mercy for Eckels, even though Eckels did not mean to change the future.Lesperance is Travis’s assistant. Before the group went back in time to kill a dinosaur, he traveled back alone to note when the dinosaur was going to die. Lesperance says, . “I track them through their entire existence, noting which of them lives longest. Very few. How many times they mate. Not often. Life’s short. When I find one that’s going to die when a tree falls on him, or one that drowns in a tar pit, I note the exact hour, minute, and second. I shoot a paint bomb. It leaves a red patch on his side. We can’t miss it. Then I correlate our arrival in the Past so that we meet the Monster not more than two minutes before he would have died anyway. This way, we kill only animals with no future, that are never going to mate again. You see how careful we are?” By these words you can tell that he is very careful in his work. Also, the fact that he is willing to travel into the past alone suggests that he is brave.Billings and Kramer, like Eckels, are both hunters going back in time to kill a dinosaur. Not much is mentioned about those two, however they, unlike Eckels, stand their ground when they see the dinosaur. This means that they do not shrink back in the face of danger, and are determined to achieve their goals.

The story is told in third person point of view. The author chose to write in this point of view so that you can experience the feelings and thoughts of all the characters. For example, the story says, “Eckels stood smelling of the air, and there was a thing to the air, a chemical taint so subtle, so slight, that only a faint cry of his subliminal senses warned him it was there. The colors, white, gray, blue, orange, in the wall, in the furniture, in the sky beyond the window, were...were...And there was a feel.” Through third person point of view, you can see what all the characters think and feel, like what is demonstrated in this sentence.

Plot

Point of View

Mood

Compare and Contrast

Theme

The theme for this story is that small differences could make huge impacts in the future. In this story, Eckels and his group travels into the past. Eckels accidentally kills a butterfly there, altering the future. When the group goes back to the present, they discover that the atmosphere around them, the English language, and the results of the presidential election has changed. Eckels checks his shoes and sees a dead butterfly in the mud. The story says,“‘Not a little thing like that! Not a butterfly!’ cried Eckels. It fell to the floor, an exquisite thing, a small thing that could upset balances and knock down a line of small dominoes and then big dominoes and then gigantic dominoes, all down the years across Time...” Just by killing one butterfly, so many important future events were changed. This quote from the story demonstrates the butterfly effect, where small changes could majorly impact the future.

The Tell-Tale Heart and A Sound of Thunder are both similar and different. Both stories do not end well for the main characters. In The Tell-Tale Heart, the narrator says, “Villians! Dissemble no more! I admit the deed! --tear up the planks! here, here! --It is the beating of his hideous heart!" The narrator admits his crime and probably ends up in jail for killing the old man. In A Sound of Thunder, Ray Bradbury tells us that “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.” This means that the character, Eckels, probably died because he accidentally changed the future by killing a butterfly in the past.The two stories are also quite different. In A Sound of Thunder, when Eckels saw the dinosaur, he grew afraid of it, despite thinking that he would kill it before they time travelled. He says, “We were fools to come. This is impossible.” From these words, you can tell that he loses faith in himself when the task seems impossible. However, in The Tell-Tale Heart, the narrator tries to achieve his goal by killing the old man and getting rid of the eye. The narrator says, “The old man's hour had come! With a loud yell, I threw open the lantern and leaped into the room.” This shows that the narrator does not back down even if he is nervous.

The mood for the story is suspense. The author constantly prepares the reader for the next event. For example, the story says, “The jungle was wide and full of twitterings, rustlings, murmurs, and sighs. Suddenly it all ceased, as if someone had shut a door. Silence. A sound of thunder. Out of the mist, one hundred yards away, came Tyrannosaurus rex.” By these words, the author displays suspense that will only be effective depending on the reader’s reaction. When the lively, noisy jungle suddenly becomes silent all at once, the reader expects something to happen next. This is called suspense.

In A Sound of Thunder, three hunters, along with a Safari Guide and his assistant, travel back in time to kill the biggest game that ever lived: the dinosaur. Along the way, Travis (the Safari Leader) and Lesperance (his assistant) explain that if you step off the path, you may accidentally alter the future and put humanity at risk. Travis says, “We don’t want to change the Future. We don’t belong here in the Past. The government doesn’t like us here. We have to pay big graft to keep our franchise. A Time Machine is finicky business. Not knowing it, we might kill an important animal, a small bird, a roach, a flower even, thus destroying an important link in a growing species.” By these words, you can tell that going back in time is extremely dangerous and that precaution should be taken.When the group sees the dinosaur, Eckels, the main hunter, begins to grow afraid by looking at it, despite his confidence that he could kill it before they went back into time. When he sees the monster, Eckels says, “Get me out of here. It was never like this before. I was always sure I’d come through alive. I had good guides, good safaris, and safety. This time, I figured wrong. I’ve met my match and admit it. This is too much for me to get hold of.” By these words, you can tell that Eckels is clearly afraid of the monster because of the dramatic change in attitude towards hunting it. He takes a few steps off the path, even when he was warned not to. His group kills the monster, and Travis makes him dig the bullets out of the dinosaur’s body as punishment for stepping off the path.As they travel back to the future, Travis warns Eckels that if he really did alter the future, then he would kill him. When they step out of the time machine, small changes in the atmosphere are noticed. The story says, “Eckels stood smelling of the air, and there was a thing to the air, a chemical taint so subtle, so slight, that only a faint cry of his subliminal senses warned him it was there. The colors, white, gray, blue, orange, in the wall, in the furniture, in the sky beyond the window, were...were...And there was a feel...” This means that Eckels must have done something in the past that affected the future. They find out that the English language had changed and that Keith had lost the election. Eckels looks at his muddy shoes and discovers that he had killed a butterfly, which is why the world has changed. Travis is true to his word and shoots Eckels.

Edrea Low


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