Style and Technique

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

A knock at the kitchen door of Mrs. O’Brian’s rooming house is the story’s incipient event. Bradbury has spoken of moments when doors open and the future floods in, and this story certainly illustrates the power of pending events, but the story’s subject is also the pastness of the present.

Bradbury’s style has been traced to the Bible, William Shakespeare, Ernest Hemingway, and motion pictures, and it has been variously described as romantic, poetic, gothic, and realistic. The reason for this motley of characterizations is his penchant for choosing a style to match his subject.

The style of “I See You Never” is clearly realistic throughout, from the soft knock on a door that begins the story to Mrs. O’Brian’s face in her hand that ends it. However, Bradbury’s realism is symbolic, not naturalistic, because he chooses realistic details to point to other meanings. For example, he describes Mrs. O’Brian’s kitchen table as covered with clean white linen, and on this table all is meticulously displayed (even her oranges are precisely cubed and sugared). This is the orderly, affluent setting within which Ramirez has found a new home. On the other hand, when Mexico is described through the consciousness of Mrs. O’Brian, Ramirez’s native country consists of streets covered with dead or dying insects, and the food and drink—spicy sauces and warm beer—stand in stark contrast to her crisp, brown pies, whose color is like...

(The entire section is 469 words.)


(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

Bloom, Harold, ed. Ray Bradbury. New York: Chelsea House, 2001.

Bloom, Harold, ed. Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451.” New York: Chelsea House, 2001.

Eller, Jonathan R., and William F. Touponce. Ray Bradbury: The Life of Fiction. Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 2004.

Reid, Robin Ann. Ray Bradbury: A Critical Companion. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2000.

Touponce, William F. Naming the Unnameable: Ray Bradbury and the Fantastic After Freud. Mercer Island, Wash.: Starmont House, 1997.

Weist, Jerry, and Donn Albright. Bradbury, an Illustrated Life: A Journey to Far Metaphor. New York: William Morrow, 2002.

Weller, Sam. The Bradbury Chronicles: The Life of Ray Bradbury. New York: William Morrow, 2005.