Ray Bradbury American Literature Analysis
Literary critic David Mogen has characterized well the central motif of Ray Bradbury’s fiction: joyous absorption in the experience of living. In each of his major works, this joy in living plays a crucial role. Mogen sees this attitude in Bradbury’s own life—in his prolific career with its many directions and in his nonfiction accounts of his life and career. One could guess this about Bradbury merely by looking at his book titles, not only those that recommend enthusiastic exploration or offer medicines for melancholy but also those that are drawn from visionary poets such as Walt Whitman and William Butler Yeats.
The dominant thematic note in Bradbury’s fiction is a kind of hopefulness for humanity. Mogen and another critic, Gary K. Wolfe, have noted that Bradbury’s optimism has roots in two major Western myths that have been important to many American writers: the frontier and the Garden of Eden. For Bradbury, the stars are the new frontier, humanity’s next field of exploration and expansion. The stars also become a new Eden, an extension of the hope for new beginnings that idealistic explorers saw in America and that F. Scott Fitzgerald so eloquently captured in his description of the “fresh, green breast of the new world” at the end of a novel Bradbury admired, The Great Gatsby (1925).
Mogen sums up Bradbury’s hopefulness by describing him as a visionary “who believes the human race will conquer death through...
(The entire section is 4798 words.)
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