Themes and Meanings

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

“I See You Never,” with its third-person narration, pivots between the minds of the two chief characters. The thrust of the story concerns the epiphanies of a Mexican expatriate and his American landlady that their thirty-month relationship of admiration and respect has been irredeemably ended by the California police. Ray Bradbury, who had recently traveled to Mexico before writing the story, expressed sympathy for Mexicans and Mexican Americans, and “I See You Never” contains a sensitive portrayal of a successful, albeit now illegal laborer, who reluctantly has to confront his alien status.

In whatever type of short story he writes—fantasy, horror, science fiction, or realism—Ray Bradbury is often concerned with the theme of metamorphosis, the transformation of human experience under the pressure of past or present events. He therefore uses his stories to bring to the surface hidden emotions or forgotten selves, and these revealed feelings or personalities may frighten, amuse, or enlighten the reader. In “I See You Never,” Mr. Ramirez discovers his deep feelings of attachment to the United States when he realizes that he has to leave it. Mrs. O’Brian finds that she has become emotionally attached to her tenant of two and a half years when she realizes that she is never going to see him again.

Unlike Bradbury’s science-fiction stories, “I See You Never” has ordinary settings (Southern California and Mexico) and...

(The entire section is 595 words.)