Ray Bradbury Story Analysis
In the short stories by Ray Bradbury, “The Veldt” and “The Fog Horn” plot, theme and characterization intertwine. The personas of each character help drive the plot and theme within each story. This is important because the characters are the personality of the story and are needed to propel the plot, along with keeping the reader engaged especially, with the suspense their dialogue provides. Within “The Fog Horn” the author uses the major character McDunn to tell the story. By doing this the author has merged characterization and plot.
Allowing McDunn to provide perspective into why the sea monster travels to the lighthouse, the author is projecting the character’s personality on to the monster because, there is no way for McDunn to absolutely understand what is going on within its mind. Without McDunn to provide this perspective the plot would have no movement and the story could not continue and would lack depth. The author sets the two characters up to where McDunn can relate to the monster through there similar life styles, which enables McDunn to give perspective in the first place.
McDunn shows understanding for the monster in that it is alone in a forever changing world, as is he. While, McDunn has his companion, Johnny, he is only a temporary fix to his overall isolation in comparison to how the light house is a temporary companion to the monster. As a result of the author intertwining the two characters on this level, the author can now use McDunn’s descriptions of the emotions of the monster to provide depth and intrigue for the reader. The Author creates this depth and suspense through McDunn’s dialogue with his companion.
McDunn’s descriptions of the monster are very emotionally charged and he speaks as if he knows the monster well, even to the point of empathizing on a personal level for example: “Someone always waiting for someone who never comes home. Always someone loving something more than that thing loves them. And after a while you want to destroy whatever that thing is, so it can hurt you no more. ” A line like this leaves the reader in suspense curious to why McDunn would make an assumption such as this, if not because he was in a similar situation himself.
This suspense and intrigue pulls the reader into the story farther in hopes of discovering the truth behind McDunn’s thoughts. In addition to providing a pull in the plot, where the monster will eventually destroy what he loves, the lighthouse. The destruction of the lighthouse only reinforces the theme within this story, loneliness. The theme of this story is blatantly apparent in the descriptions given by McDunn. McDunn throughout the story speaks of how the monster is all alone and has been for a million years, waiting for someone who has yet to come.
It is this theme that provides the needed emotion to the dialogue between McDunn and Johnny. As stated before without this emotion the author would not be able to describe the anguish that is felt by both McDunn and the monster, leaving the story without the pull it needs to keep the reader involved and push forward the plot. The theme becomes most apparent when McDunn describes how the monster sits in the depths of the ocean alone, the last of its kind only to surface to see the lighthouse.
The monster travels for weeks fighting the pressure of the ocean for the brief satisfaction that he is not alone, only to have his loneliness intensified by the cold behavior of the lighthouse. McDunn’s loneliness is shown through his description of the sea monster and the justification of its behavior. The theme within the short story “The Veldt” is dissatisfaction. This theme can be found both within the behavior of the parents along with the two children. Living within a home that does all of the work for the family, has built resentment and dissatisfaction within the parents of the story.
Leaving the mother feeling dissatisfied with her life and less like a wife and mother because all of her maternal duties are being taken care by the home. This dissatisfaction leads to a building of resentment for the home, which is shown in her statement: “That’s just it. I feel like I don’t belong here. The house is wife and mother now, and nursemaid. Can I compete with an African veldt? Can I give a bath and scrub the children as efficiently or quickly as the automatic scrub bath can? I cannot…. “. In contrast the children of the home have grown an unhealthy love and dependence on the home to do all of the work for them.
This dependence has done exactly what the mother has feared and taken the role of mother within the mind of the children. When this dependence is threatened by the mother and father threatening to shut down the house or by punishing the children by taking away certain components of the house, this story’s theme reamerges. It emerges through the resentment that the children developed for their actual parents, because they are now only associated with the pain and anger of losing their beloved “smart house”. The Theme of dissatisfaction within this story fuels the personas of each character.
Because the parents are dissatisfied with the life they are living the characters behavior throughout the story is that of concerned parents who wish to remove the nursery from the childrens lives. This continuing dissatisfaction with the nursery and its effect on the children’s behavior pushes the reactions and choices of the characters pulling the reader further into the story. The concerned reaction of the parents leads to author to write statements spoken by the parents that intrigue the reader and provide further perspective on the personality of the children.
This can be seen within this dialogue: “I don’t know anything,” he said, “except that I’m beginning to be sorry we bought that room for the children. If children are neurotic at all, a room like that -” “It’s supposed to help them work off their neuroses in a healthful way. ” This kind of dialogue leaves the reader curious about the psyche of the children. This point allows for another plot pull. With theme fueling the behavior of the children and statements such as the one that has been pointed out, the author now has all he requires to create the true characterization of the children.
Which is two 10 year old children who love their home more than their parents and have plotted their death in advance to preserve their lifestyle. Without this theme the author would not have had the backbone required to form the characters and propel the story plot. In the short stories by Ray Bradbury, “The Veldt” and “The Fog Horn” plot, theme and characterization intertwine. The characterization of each charcter, the theme, and plot are dependent on one another and are essential to make each story a whole. Without one component the other could not exist. Ray Bradbury’s stories masterful combine them all.