Ray Bradbury explores worlds beyond the here and now through his artful fiction, masterfully weaving elements of poignant figurative language into a plot that engages the reader. In the story "A Sound of Thunder," Ray Bradbury hooks the reader in the exposition of the story and leaves the reader wondering what negative and scary outcomes future technologies could bring.
What is an Exposition?
The exposition of a story typically occurs in the beginning paragraphs of a short story or in the first pages of a novel. The goal of the exposition is to orient the reader in space and time through descriptions of the setting and to introduce the reader to the main characters of the story. The exposition also sets up the basic situation or scenario the characters are experiencing.
Exposition in "A Sound of Thunder"
Bradbury introduces the protagonist, Eckels, and the general scenario within the first six paragraphs of the story. Society has advanced to the place of time travel, and Time Safari Inc. can send people back in time to hunt large game, specifically dinosaurs. In the beginning of the story, we find Eckels reviewing the front sign outside of the business and entering to pay his fee.
One of the strongest devices Bradbury utilizes in “A Sound of Thunder” is foreshadowing. One key moment occurs when Eckels asks the man at the desk if the safari guarantees a safe trip, to which the man at the desk answers, “We guarantee nothing.” Another moment occurs when Eckels refers to the results of an election, and the man on the other side of the desk replies, “If Deutscher had gotten in, we’d have the worst kind of dictatorship.” Both of these lines are critical as the story progresses.
Figurative Language in the Exposition
In addition to foreshadowing, Ray Bradbury imbeds a copious amount of figurative language in the opening paragraphs of “A Sound of Thunder.” Bradbury weaves simile and personification as the character Eckels remembers the advertisement for the safari. Bradbury creates a simile comparing the years to “golden salamanders” and “rabbits into hats." Personification is evident in the phrase “moons eat themselves.” This prevalence of figurative language continues throughout the story, rendering it a powerful and beautiful read.