Ray Bradbury Essay, Research Paper
No name typifies science fiction to the American public more than the name Ray
Bradbury. For over forty years, he has been writing novels, short stories, poems, plays,
and movie scripts that have long since kept him in the forefront of American literature.
His stories become standard reading for many high school and college students.
His literary style can best be described as “enchantment;” the way he captivates
his readers with charm, bewitchment, and stunning verbal evocations. His visions of the
past, future, and the present delight his readers. His books are virtually long-time
bestsellers and have been translated into over twenty languages. He is quite popular in
the former Soviet Union. However, success did not come easily for Bradbury. He
inched away at his writing career, crafting story after story, until he was selling and
occasional short story for half a cent per word. Much of his childhood, and a little of his
adulthood, inspired his writings. In this paper, these influences as well as his method of
drawing the reader into a story will be discussed.
Perhaps the most important influence in Bradbury’s youth was his discovery of
magic. The famous Blackstone the Magician once included Bradbury in his act, and it
enchanted him. The most influential magician on Bradbury was Mr. Electrico. Bradbury
wrote about his experience with Mr. Electrico and stated that Mr. Electrico would sit
every night in his electric chair, brushing his Excalibur sword over the audience, sparking
them with lightning, and crying, “Live forever!” A few weeks after Bradbury
encountered Mr. Electrico, he began writing his first short stories.
In July of 1941, Bradbury sold his first story to Super Science Stories. Although
he only made $13.75 on the sale, he rejoiced. Within a year from that sale, he was a
full-time writer. The Martian Chronicles, his first novel, was published within a decade
and he soon found himself famous. Fahrenheit 451 marked a new point in Bradbury’s
writing style – the pessimistic side of life, where he discussed a future where mankind is
slowly destroying itself.
The sense of what is best in America and what is best for the American people
and humanity as a whole, is another thing that fuels his literature. He writes on topics
relevant to what is happening in society. Mars and book burning are a couple of them.
The burning of books would be related not directly to book burning, but rather is one of
the most powerful anti -censorship writings of its time.
The optimism expressed in his writings inspires the human race to reach new
limits. The Martian Chronicles speak of a journey to Mars. Today, people are striving to
go to Mars. The Final Frontier, according to Bradbury, is “the wilderness of space.”
Therefore, he likes to focus on stories based outside the atmosphere of Earth. One story,
“The Fire Balloons,” talks about two priests that debate whether or not native blue-fire
balls have souls. In a story called “The Man” Jesus leaves a distant planet the day before
an Earth rocket lands. In his poem “Christus Apollo,” he states that “Christ wanders in
the Universe/ A flesh of stars.” It is evident from these examples that he brings the
familiar world of the church into the unfamiliar environment of distant planets and the
rest of outer space. This effect gives the reader some familiarity with the story, and
allows him to be drawn deeper into it. Bradbury’s writings about space inspired one
Apollo astronaut to name a crater on the moon, the Dandelion Crater, after his novel
The most influential factor to Bradbury’s writings, as well as those of any author,
is the expanse of his or her imagination. Evidently, limits have not yet been found in
Bradbury’s. His imagination transports his readers through time and space to amazing
worlds that we are unfamiliar with. Through his stories, we become familiarized with
them. The Martian Chronicles and Fahrenheit 451 depend on complex interrelationships
between time, setting, place, character, and dialogue. Each of these elements is pulled
from the depths of Bradbury’s imagination and given to the reader to imagine.
Much of Bradbury’s famous novel writing develops from short story ideas.
Fahrenheit 451 was originally a short story titled “The Fireman,” published in 1951 in
Galaxy Science Fiction. Quite often Bradbury composes large novels from short stories
in 20 days of high-speed writing. However, his drafts require little line editing. He is
very careful in choosing words, and his vocabulary paints a picture of his novel so that
the reader can become more involved with the story.
Bradbury’s use of metaphors – which, according to him, are a method used for
comprehending one reality and expressing it in terms of another – is a vital part of his
literary style. He uses metaphors to permit the reader to view what the author is saying.
Bradbury’s writings in general can be described as a metaphor of generalized nostalgia;
that is, he writes not merely for the past but also for the future.
Today, after forty years of writing and countless poems, novels, stories, plays, and
scripts, Ray Bradbury remains one of the most popular American writers. He is a very
common sight in the lecture circuit. Bradbury has captured the past, present, and future
of our society, in amazing and intricate stories that perhaps no other writer will ever be
able to duplicate. His writings will continue to enchant the people of the future as much
as it has enchanted people for the past forty years.