A Sound Of Thunder Setting

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litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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“A Sound of Thunder” is science fiction story set in the future.  It takes place in the year 2055, and they travel back in time to the time of the dinosaurs.

The story opens at Time Safari, Inc.  It is a time travel company.  They have this sign.






The company takes people back to any year they want to hunt any animal they want.  They go to the time of the dinosaurs, where a man named Eckels wants to shoot.  He is told to stay on the path, because if they leave the path there could be disastrous consequences.

Eckels does accidentally step off the path onto a butterfly.  Then he changes the future.  When they return to 2055, there is a new president and things are spelled differently.

This story is an exploration of the law of unintended consequences.  If you make one small action, it can have a ripple effect—the butterfly effect.

durbanville's profile pic

durbanville | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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In literature, the setting provides the reader with enough information to allow him or her to visualize essential elements of any story and is particularly relevant in a story in which the theme revolves around events which have the potential to change the future. Such is the situation in Ray Bradbury's A Sound of Thunder , where the so-called, Butterfly effect, which Eckels brings effect to, has far-reaching implications. In this case, the setting includes the future and the past and time, therefore, is an integral part of setting. 

Basically, the setting includes, as a reader would expect, the surroundings or location but also includes the historical aspect, which gives the story its depth and context. Setting also allows for character development and, in this case, we see how Eckels failure to respect his environment, having traveled back from the year 2055, can have disastrous implications: 

"Its purpose is to keep you from touching this world of the Past in any way. Stay on the Path. Don’t go off it....For any reason!"

Transported back in time, Eckels carelessly steps on a butterfly, despite being reminded not to step off the path in an environment he has been privileged to experience through the benefits of time travel. The benefits of technology are also relevant to the setting as, without technology, the "anti-gravity metal" would not be able to protect the environment. It seems however, that even technology could not protect this world as human nature revealed its flaw. Eckels actions and even the outcome of the story are thus influenced by the setting. The importance of the setting of A Sound of Thunder can be summed up: 

“messing around in Time can make a big roar or a little rustle in history.”

estoverl's profile pic

estoverl | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

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The setting of a story can be described as both the time and the place. Though the exact geographical location is not given, the place in time is. The story takes place both in the future and in the distant past. As the story begins, the setting is 2055. The story then moves back in time 60 million years to the age of dinosaurs. 

At the beginning of the story, the setting is a business that offers customers time travel. Customers in the year 2055 are at the business inquiring about traveling back in time 60 million years to hunt for dinosaurs. Once their request is granted, after a brief amount of time in the time machine, the setting of the story changes to the outdoors, a jungle setting. It is now approximately 60 million years in the past. The hunters are ordered to stay on a walking path that heads out through a jungle.

As the plot of the story continues, a dinosaur is killed according to the company's strict guidelines and the men all return through the jungle to the setting of the time machine. At the end of their time travels, the men find themselves back in 2055, inside the business of the time travelers again.


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