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Analysis of A Sound of Thunder Essay


The given passage is an excerpt from Ray Bradburys A Sound of Thunder and this passage is a description of the slow, violent killing of a tyrannosaurus.

The passage is fictional, written in the third person narrative and it is presented in 3 paragraphs.

Ray Bradburys intension in this passage is to thoroughly and graphically describe the killing of the dinosaur and he conveys this through his powerful use of language. He tries to create a response from the readers where the readers are disgusted at the dinosaur. The tone of the passage is quite sinister and bitter as it is describing the death of an animal. The passage is structured into 3 main paragraphs, with simple sentences bridging the paragraphs together to foreshadow whats to come (the thunder faded, Clean up).

The passage describes the killing of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. First, we are drawn right up close to the action with the men and the dinosaur. The men fire their guns at the dinosaur and the close-up perspective allows us to see the details of the dinosaur. The perspective then widens as the men clean up, then it closes in again to further detail the dead dinosaur.

In the first paragraph, we have a description of the actual killing of the tyrannosaurus. It is in the 3rd person viewpoint, close up on the action and our perspective is at the eyes of the dinosaur. They fired at the metallic eyelids. The author uses a very powerful action verb (fired) to convey the way in which the bullets from the gun are released. This helps show the reader the aggressive and nature of the killing of the dinosaur. There is a very robotic and mechanical presentation of the monster. This is done to de-humanize the dinosaur so that we feel less sympathetic towards it as we are made to feel that the dinosaur has no feelings, as nothing more than mechanical. Also, there is some pathos in the second half of the first paragraph, which helps the author to evoke strong emotions.

Alliteration is used when describing the dinosaurs blazing black iris. The description stays in our minds for longer due to the alliteration and the author does this to take away our sympathy for the dinosaur because there is nothing more than darkness in its eyes.

Two distinct similes are used to describe the fall of the tyrannosaurus. We can see that the author is clearly trying to de-humanize the dinosaur and diminish any sympathy towards it through his use of similes because both of these similes show the dinosaur to be very large, clumsy, and immobile. Like a stone idol, the dinosaur is nothing more than an object and it is falling as impersonally as a mountain avalanche. There is no article used when referring to the tyrannosaurus, it is simply referred to as tyrannosaurus. This makes the dinosaur iconic in a way because we are made to feel that it is not just any other dinosaur, but tyrannosaurus. This type of reference is commonly used in films to iconize the monsters and it is quite a powerful use of speech (e.g. Godzilla).

The adjective thundering conveys to us a sense of the magnitude of the fall of the dinosaur. We see that the dinosaur has been trying to resist and hang on to life as it is clutching the trees. It pulls the trees down with it, and wrenched and tore the metal path as if it is trying to cause as much damage possible before dying. The verb wrenched and the adjective metal further conveys the constant sense of machinery throughout the passage. The purpose of mechanising the dinosaur is to relate it to the time machine because the author is trying to make it seem as though the experiences from the time machine are, like the time machine itself, mechanical and unreal.

The adjective flung exaggerates the movements of the men and the author uses this adjective to convey the sheer size of the dinosaur and how far the men had to move to get out of the way.

The size of the dinosaur is further conveyed through a given weight (ten tons) and the men are made to seem very powerful because it shows how large of a monster they managed to take down. By referring to the dinosaur as simply the body and also its cold flesh, the author suggests that it is now less alive.

The guns fired is a simple sentence. It is very effective in pointing out to us that the guns are being fired after the dinosaur has fallen.

The Monster lashed its armoured tail, twitched its snake jaws, and lay still

There is another adjective that belongs to the semantic field of mechanics and machinery (armoured). This adjective draws to mind tank-like imagery and exaggerates the achievement of killing this armoured Monster.

The verb lashed is powerful in conveying the tyrannosauruss vicious nature and along with its final twitch, its desperation to survive is shown.

A fount of blood spurted from its throat. Somewhere inside a sac of fluids burst. Sickening gushes drenched the hunters. They stood, red and glistening.

The author uses repulsive language to describe the dinosaurs death. This is done so that instead of sympathizing with the dinosaur, we are disgusted. The adverb and verb sickening gushes evoke extremely powerful imagery in making the readers repulsed at the dinosaur. The authors intension, which is to entertain the readers with action, adventure and gore, is clearly conveyed through the graphic descriptions.

The thunder fadedafter the nightmare, morning

The author uses pathetic fallacy to signal the end of the hunt. The thunder symbolizes the battle between the hunters and the tyrannosaurus. This is effective in drawing a clear picture for the reader.

In the second paragraph, the author uses all of the names of the hunters to personalize them, contrasting the dehumanisation of the dinosaur. 2 of the hunters throw up, one is cursing steadily, and one is shivering. The hunters take no pride in killing the dinosaur and it is clear that the author wants us to take the side of the hunters and sympathize for them. In this paragraph the perspective widens and we move further away, giving the reader omniscience.

Assonance is used at the beginning of the second paragraph where it says After the avalanche, a green peace. This is done to focus on the fact that the killing is over.

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