A Sound of Thunder

by Ray Bradbury

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Define and give an example of hyperbole in "A Sound of Thunder."

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Hyperbole, deliberate exaggeration for dramatic effect, is used in interesting ways in Ray Bradbury's “A Sound of Thunder.” It is used several times by characters who are deliberately exaggerating, but it is also used in an apparent fashion by characters who are not exaggerating at all. Let's look at some examples.

When the man behind the desk tells Eckels that the Tyrannosaurus rex is “the most incredible monster in history,” he is using hyperbole. Some people might agree with that, but it is something of an exaggeration because other people may argue that there are other, more incredible monsters. The man behind the desk also uses hyperbole when he talks about Deutscher, the losing candidate in the presidential race. According to the man, Deutscher would have brought “the worst kind of dictatorship” because he is an “anti everything man.” Again, this is hyperbole.

However, sometimes characters seem to be exaggerating but are not. When Travis tells Eckels not to go off the path because any small change in the past could mean a huge change in the future, Eckels doesn't quite understand. He thinks Travis is using hyperbole. He is not. Travis is deadly serious. Eckels discovers this when he does go off the path in his terror and kills a butterfly. When the travelers return to their time, Eckels discovers how serious Travis was, for things are very different in their time. Deutscher is president.

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