What are the Exposition and Climax of "A Sound of Thunder" by Ray Bradbury?


Ray Bradbury

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The exposition of a story is the beginning, where the characters and setting are introduced.  The climax of a story is the turning point, or the most exciting point.

I greatly enjoy this short story!  I always teach it this time of year.  My students always feel like they are “in the know” when they read this story and learn where the original butterfly effect came from!

The exposition of this story is where we learn when and where.  We learn who the characters are and what they are up to.  In this story, it is 2055 and time traveling is a form of entertainment.  Wealthy individuals can travel back to the time of the dinosaurs for hunting.  The rules are that they must stay on the path, because any interference with even the smallest thing in the past will influence the future.

The time travelers go on their journey and complete their hunt successfully, but when they return to the time machine they realize that one of them has stepped on a butterfly.  This is the “dunt, dunt, dunt!” moment when you realize that something about the future might have been changed.  This is the climax because from this point on, everything changes.  We know that things will be different.  It’s no longer just an innocent hunting mission to the past!

When they return to the future, they realize that there is a new president and the spelling of the message is different.  This is a hint that more has changed in the future, due to the butterfly effect!

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