The April Witch Style and Technique

Ray Bradbury

Style and Technique

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

A lyrical writer, Bradbury uses strong sensory images, particularly nature imagery, which he combines with rich metaphors and similes, with a poet’s attention to the sound of words, with nostalgic scenes, and with frequent juxtapositions. An impressionistic writer, Bradbury builds his scenes via a deluge of images that suggest rather than directly relate.

Bradbury begins his story with nature imagery: Cecy inhabits air, valleys, stars, rivers, winds, fields, and various animals. These images convey both the advent of spring and the magical powers of Cecy; they suggest spring and, by extension, the season of love. Cecy longs to embrace both love and life despite her parents’ warnings. Cecy views the world through sensory imagery: She sits in Ann’s eyes, and in the eyes of insects and animals. These images also form similes. Cecy is “invisible as new spring winds,” she “soars in doves as soft as white ermine,” and she perches in a frog “cool as mint.”

Moreover, Bradbury juxtaposes Cecy with Ann Leary, a girl who shrinks from life and love. Ann’s body is “roundly fleshed,” whereas Cecy’s body is plain and bony. A pretty girl, Ann stands in direct contrast to the less attractive Cecy, who, like most people in springtime, wants to dance, to kiss, and to fall in love.