What are some examples of literary devices in Ray Bradbury's "A Sound Of Thunder?"

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Other literary devices employed by Bradbury are as follows:

  • Irony - specifically, verbal irony as something is said that has the opposite effect.

e.g. As Eckels talks in the office to Time Safari official, he is told of the dangers of the Time Machine, and he remarks,

"Makes you think, if the election had gone badly yesterday, I might be here now running away from the results. Thank God Keith won. He'll make a fine President...."

Of course, as it turns out, Deutscher, the opponent, later has won. Later, too, Eckels forgets what the official tells him about: that he is going into the jungle of sixty million two thousand and fifty-five years before President Keith" because when he returns to the ship after having stepped off the gravity path, he ironically says, "I'm innocent. I've done nothing"

  • Personification - The attribution of human traits to that which is non-human.  e.g. "The Machine howled....The Machine slowed; its scream fell to a murmur.    "Time steps aside." 
  • simile - A stated comparison using the words like or as. e.g. Eckels remarks on going back in time to hunt, "This makes Africa seem like Illinois"   "Time steps aside (personification). Like (simile) an airplane hitting an air pocket." "I'm shaking like a kid." "There was a sound like a gigantic bonfire."  "...like golden slamanders, the old years, the green years (also a metaphor for early years), might leap."
  • figurative language - Language used for more than its literal meaning. e.g. "They sat in the ancient wilderness. 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."
  • metaphor - An ustated comparison. The jungle was the entire world forever and forever."  "...pterodactyls soaring with cavernous gray wings, gigantic bats of delirium and night fever. "A sound of thunder" = the T-Rex. "the seed death, the green death,..." "Trees exploded in clouds of leaf and branch." "The Monster twitches its jeweler's hands down..."
  • alliteration - The repetition of initial consonant sounds. e.g. " ...glistening green and gold and...." /g/
  • double entendre - A wording that is understood in two ways. e.g. "A sound of thunder" first means the sound of the dinosaur's step; then it means the firing of the rifle that kills Eckels.
literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ray Bradbury's "A Sound of Thunder" possesses many literary devices (also called poetic or rhetorical devices). 

Personification: the giving of human traits to non-living/non-human things. 

An example fo personification is found in the opening sentence: "The sign on the wall seemed to quaver." To quaver means to quiver because of weakness. Human beings can falter because of weakness, signs cannot. 

Imagery: the formation of mental images based upon the descriptions provided by the author. The better an author appeals to the senses of the reader, the better the mental image. 

The opening of the story provides a very distinct image: "The sign on the wall seemed to quaver under a film of sliding warm water. Eckels felt his eyelids blink over his stare, and the sign burned in this momentary darkness." Here, the reader is able to create a very distinct mental picture of the scene the author has provided for them. 

Metaphor: the comparison of two typically dissimilar things. 

"Time was a film run backward." Here, time is compared to a film running backward.