What is the single incident and conflict with the characters in the story "Embroidery"?"Embroidery" by Ray Bradbury

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In Ray Bradbury's short story "Embroidery," women work frantically to sew back the world that surrounds them before it ends in an apocalyptic manner: 

Each woman looked to her own hands as if suddenly she had found her heart beating there.

Yet, despite their knowledge about the "old experiment" and the movement of time toward the fatalistic five o'clock, one woman removes from the embroidered piece the man on the road by ripping out the threads because the details are not perfect.  This act suggests that although technological forces threaten it, the human mind still is convinced that it can control what happens.  And, to further secure their safety, the women embroider themselves into the work.  Nonetheless, the power of technology supercedes the power of the human mind, and the embroidery is destroyed--even the women whose flesh become white thread, their cheeks pink, and the heart a red rose sewn with fire that burns every petal away, one by one.

Bradbury's story, like many others he has written, points to the flaw in humanity that it is blind to its best interests. and in its selfishness it turns technology to destructive, rather than creative and imaginative ends.  Thus, it is in constant danger of self-destruction.

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