When the time travelers return to the world of 2055, how has the setting changed in "A Sound of Thunder?"

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When the time travelers return to 2055, they immediately notice that the man behind the desk in the office has changed in a subtle way. As Bradbury writes, "the same man did not quite sit behind the same desk." Then, Eckels notices a very slight chemical taste to the air, and the colors in the office and in the outside world seem to have changed a bit. Eckels senses something that is ineffable and that Bradbury describes in the following way: "And there was a feel. His flesh twitched. His hands twitched. He stood drinking the oddness with the pores of his body." Eckels notices that the sign in the office has also changed so that the first line now reads, "TYME SEFARI INC.," and many of the words are now misspelled.

Eckels finds a butterfly embedded in the mud in his boots, and he realizes that bringing this small creature out of the past has altered the world forever. He then asks who won the Presidential election and finds out it was Deutscher instead of Keith. Earlier in the story, Keith had won the election, but now, the election has shifted to Deutscher, who is described as a dictator. 

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That is a great question.  I could get away with saying that the setting has not changed at all.  Normally setting is time and place.  The story starts in the United States in the year 2055.  The story ends in the United States in the year 2055.  The setting has not changed.  

But that's cheating.  Eckels comes back to a very different country after his dinosaur hunting, butterfly killing adventure.  While the country is still the United States, the elected president is completely different.  The laws of the country are completely different.  The system of government is completely different.  Even the language is different.  At the beginning of the story the reader learns that Keith won the election.  Everybody is happy, because they think that Deutscher would have made a terrible president. 

"We're lucky. If Deutscher had gotten in, we'd have the  worst kind of dictatorship. There's an anti everything man for you, a militarist, anti­Christ, anti­ human, anti­intellectual. People called us up, you know, joking but not joking. Said if Deutscher became President they wanted to go live in 1492."

When Eckels arrives back in the present, the reader learns that Deutscher is likely the president of a very different United States.  We learn about this likely shift by seeing the change in the Time Safari welcome sign.  


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