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"The Other Foot" by Ray Bradbury

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"THE OTHER FOOT" BY RAY BRADBURY "The Other Foot" by Ray Bradbury is a thought-provoking short story about prejudice and racism. It has all the qualities of a good short story, such as an interesting plot, an unusual yet relevant setting and excellent characterisation. These qualities, and some others, help to effectively convey the author's message that we should not be hypocritical of others, and these qualities certainly made it more interesting for me. The story is set in a small town on Mars in 1985, where all its inhabitants are black. The people flew to Mars twenty years ago to get away from Earth because they were being treated so badly by the white people, and since then, they had lived quite happily on their own. However, one day, a rocket from Earth lands in the town; an old white man steps out and tells everyone how Earth has been destroyed by war and now there is nothing left. He asks the people of Mars for their help and to let the white people come and live on Mars with them. ...read more.


He talks to them and tells them to paint signs and rope off areas of seating in some places for the new white people, and all this time Hattie "stood tall and silent by him". Their three children bring some humour into the story, as they play and joke and "dance around in the dusty yard". They have never seen a white man before and they find the concept hilarious - "'White arms!' hooted the boys" , "White faces! Really?" They are young and innocent and do not understand the dangers of the white man. "The Other Foot" has an exciting and interesting plot. The story begins very well and arouses the reader's attention. "They came out of restaurants and cafes and hotels and looked at the sky". From this, we know that it must be something unusual and quite fantastic for everyone to stop what they were doing and just look at the sky. They are looking at something strange and the reader wants to know what it is and so wants to read on. Ironically, we find out later that we, the white people, are the strange ones that they were so fascinated by. ...read more.


They started a whole new way of life and it seemed very unlikely that the white people would bother them. The story is structured very well. The length of sentences and paragraphs vary depending on the mood and tone that is being created. Some of the paragraphs are long and descriptive and there is some excellent imagery used - "There was a silence of silences...a silence that came down like a pressure from a distant storm" But sometimes, the paragraphs are very short with just a few words in them. These sentences are often repeated to build tension - "no one moved" is repeated to emphasise that everyone was stunned by what the white man was saying and nobody knows how to react to it. When Hattie's children ask her what the white man is like, she says "you'll find out. Yes indeed, you'll find out." This lets us see how scared she is herself about what might happen. These are just some of the qualities that make "The Other Foot" an outstanding short story. Bradbury succeeds in creating a remarkable setting, bringing his characters to life and, of course, in conveying his message that is both important and relevant to today's society, and I think this was definitely a very enjoyable short story. Catriona McCaig ...read more.

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