Ray Bradbury Questions and Answers

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What imagery is used in the Ray Bradbury story "A Sound of Thunder"?

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Madeleine Wells eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Ray Bradbury uses visual, auditory, olfactory, and tactile imagery in his story.

Auditory imagery appeals to our sense of hearing. Here are examples of auditory imagery from the story:

Sounds like music and sounds like flying tents filled the sky, and those were pterodactyls soaring with cavernous gray wings, gigantic bats of delirium and night fever.

The rifles cracked again. Their sound was lost in shriek and lizard thunder.

Here are examples of visual and tactile imagery from the story:

It towered thirty feet above half of the trees, a great evil god, folding its delicate watchmaker’s claws close to its oily reptilian chest.

Each lower leg was a piston, a thousand pounds of white bone, sunk in thick ropes of muscle, sheathed over in a gleam of pebbled skin like the mail of a terrible warrior.

Visual imagery lets us form pictures in our minds as we read, while tactile imagery appeals to our sense of touch. We can almost feel the "pebbled skin" on the dinosaur's lower leg. In our mind's eye, we see an image of a tall, gigantic, and fearsome creature.

Olfactory imagery appeals to our sense of smell. Here are examples of olfactory imagery from the story:

In the slime, tiny insects wriggled, so that the entire body seemed to twitch and undulate, even while the monster itself did not move. It exhaled. The stink of raw flesh blew down the wilderness.

 A windstorm from the beast’s mouth engulfed them in the stench of slime and old blood.






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ophelious eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Remember, imagery is when words and phrases are used that are meant to appeal to your five senses in order to help you further experience a story.  So, any time you see something in "A Sound of Thunder" that lets you better hear, see, smell, or taste (gross) something in the story, well, you've got imagery!

Here are some examples:

"the sign burned in this momentary darkness" (burning appeals to your sense of touch)

"Eckels glanced across the vast office at a mass and tangle, a snaking and humming of wires and steel boxes, at an aurora that flickered now orange, now silver, now blue." (helps you to better see the story)

"The Machine roared...The Machine slowed; its scream fell to a murmur" (appeals to sense of hearing.)

"Far birds’ cries blew on a wind,and the smell of tar and an old salt sea, moist grasses, and flowers the color of blood." (this is a great one...it appeals to sense of hearing, smell, and sight!  The mother-lode!)

So, there you've got it.  One of the great things about Bradbury is his rich use of language, and you can't read one of his stories without tripping over the use of imagery.


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