Identify an important theme from the text. Explain why it was important.
Actions and Consequences in ‘A Sound of Thunder’
Alex de Beer
An important theme from the text ‘A Sound of Thunder,’ by Ray Bradbury, is that all actions have a consequence. All of the main events from the text are related to this theme, and notable characters involved are Eckels and Travis. There are several reasons why this theme is important; it shows us that we must trust our instinct and be logical to ensure we make the best decisions for ourselves, that we must rethink conservation of the environment, and that even a seemingly insignificant action can have a large consequence. These aspects of the theme are all important ideas that the audience can relate to, and leave them with several, interesting morals that they can take away and use in everyday life.
The theme of consequences in ‘A Sound of Thunder’ shows us that it is often a good idea to trust our instinct and be logical. An example of this concept comes when Eckels makes the decision to go on the safari back to the past. ‘Mister Eckels looked at the check. His fingers twitched,’ and ‘“Does this safari guarantee I come back alive?”’ are quotes that show how hesitant Eckels is to go on the trip; his instinct is to tear up the check and forfeit the journey. Using a logical thought process is likely to have also brought him to this conclusion; the safari was depicted by the Time Safari employee as very dangerous. The environment and wildlife in the past was foreign to Eckels, and very different from the current world that he had learnt to live within. Eckels ignored his instinct and went on the Safari, with disastrous consequences. When the moment came to shoot the dinosaur, he said ‘“We were fools to come. This is impossible.”’ His choice to go on the safari was most likely an impulsive decision, brought about because he wanted to be considered a brave, courageous person. In this part of the text, Ray Bradbury has shown us that we must trust our instincts and think logically about every decision we make. This is important because if we do not do so, there may be negative consequences from our actions.
The reader is shown, through the theme of consequences in ‘A Sound of Thunder’, that we must consider conservation of the environment carefully. This is shown when Travis explains to Eckels the ‘butterfly effect’. An example of this concept is that if a single animal is killed, ‘all the families of the families of the families’ of that animal can be wiped out. This can create a disturbance in the ecosystem, and not only will that line of animal be terminated, but, also, some types of animals can have their population significantly reduced, because there is less food for them to eat. In this part of the text, Ray Bradbury has shown that it is important not to disturb our natural environment, because we can affect animal populations greatly. Killing or injuring a single animal of a single species can have far greater consequences than many of us can imagine. This leaves the audience with the important idea that they need to think very carefully before interfering with the environment in even the smallest way, because a single action can make a huge difference in the future.
During the story, the reader learns that any action can have disastrous consequences, no matter how small. When Eckels panics upon seeing the Tyrannosaurus Rex, and is instructed to run back to the time machine, in his haste he steps off the Path, crushing a butterfly beneath his boot. Throughout the story, Eckels is told many times to ‘Stay on the Path. Don’t go off it,’ but in ignoring this vital instruction, the butterfly is killed, which he later on discovers has had a profound effect on modern-day society. The consequences of this decision were immense; the current-day president was now a dictator, spelling in the english language was altered, and the Time Safari staff member ‘was not quite the same man’ upon the return of the hunters. ‘What sort of world it was now, there was no telling.’ In this part of the text, Ray Bradbury has shown readers that they must think through their actions, even those that seem insignificant at the time, like Eckels’, because there can be negative consequences if they do not. This concept is important because it affects everyone in their daily lives, and in all the decisions that they make.
The theme of consequences, from the text ‘A Sound of Thunder’ is extremely important, and much of the story is based around it. That we should use our instinct and be logical, that we must consider conservation carefully, and that any action, no matter how small, can have a large impact, are all parts of the theme that make it an important one. Ray Bradbury has based ‘A Sound of Thunder’ around the theme of consequences in order to teach the audience that they must think about the long term consequences even a seemingly meaningless action can have on the future.