What are three examples of characterization in "A Sound of Thunder" by Ray Bradbury?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Authors develop and reveal the qualities, mannerisms, and thoughts of the characters of their literary work through characterization.

There are five ways in which characterization can take place:

  1. through a physical description of the character
  2. through the character's actions
  3. through the character's thoughts, feelings, and speeches
  4. through the comments and reactions of other characters
  5. through direct statements giving the writer's opinion of the character

The first four methods are indirect characterization; they show or dramatize a character. The last is direct characterization; the author makes comments about the character.


Here are 3 examples of characterization:

Way #2. The character's actions:
Eckels nervousness is indicated by his actions:

Eckels swayed on the padded seat, his face pale, his jaw stiff. He felt the trembling in his arms, and he looked down and found his hands tight on the new rifle

Way #3. The character's thoughts, feelings, or speech. 

After the Time Safari Machine returns with the two employees and Eckels, who has stepped off the gravity path, things appear differently to Eckels. He cannot read the sign and when he asks the strange man behind the desk who won the presidential election, he tells Eckels that a different candidate from the one who was President when he departed is in office.

Eckels felt himself fall into a chair. He fumbled crazily at the thick slime on his boots. He held up a clod of dirt, trembling, “No, it can’t be. Not a little thing like that. No!”

Way #4. The comments and reactions of other characters:

When Eckels asks why it is so important that he not step off the gravity path, the strong feelings that Travis has about the importance of not doing this are demonstrated in his speech and with his examples:

We don’t want to change the Future. We don’t belong here in the Past.....
A dead mouse here makes an insect imbalance there, a population disproportion later, a bad harvest further on, a depression, mass starvation, and, finally, a change in social temperament in far-flung countries."