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Discuss the differences and similarities between the two stories concentrating on how they begin and end. Which technique do you find the most effective?

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Introduction

Discuss the differences and similarities between the two stories concentrating on how they begin and end. Which technique do you find the most effective? 'A Sound of Thunder' and 'The Man Who Could Work Miracles' are short science fiction stories by Ray Bradbury and H. G. Wells. 'A Sound of Thunder' is about time travel, set in the year 2050. It is the story of a man who goes on a hunting trip back in time to shoot a tyrannosaurus rex but ends up changing the past, as well as the present when things go wrong. 'The Man Who Could Work Miracles' is about a man named Fotheringay trying to prove his belief that miracles can not just happen but must be willed, and much to his surprise demonstrates this to all the people around him. He then goes on to use his power to perform various tasks, but ends up destroying life on Earth with a careless miracle. Both stories give morals to the reader about messing around with the forces of nature and the consequences that can happen if you do. This essay will explore the differences and similarities between the two stories, concentrating on how they begin and end. Ray Bradbury was born in 1920 in Illinois and moved frequently during his childhood. Throughout his childhood he suffered from nightmares, but later in his life he made these experiences more positive by drawing on them as inspiration for his writing. He began writing during his youth, his work consisting entirely of science fiction. It is likely that the space race which was going on during the 40s, 50s, and 60s also helped influence his work and interest in science. Bradbury wrote many short stories, poems, novels, and films, such as 'Fahrenheit 452' and 'The Martian Chronicles', as well as writing for T.V. Aware of the popularity of his work for transformation into films of television programmes, Bradbury uses very cinematic descriptions in his writing, which can easily be imagined on the screen. ...read more.

Middle

When it becomes obvious that it has, the suspense is immediately intensified. The reader wants to know how Travis will react. The sentences become very quick and short, with lots of punctuation, especially in the last paragraph. "Eckels moaned. He dropped to his knees. He scrabbled at the golden butterfly with shaking fingers. "Can't we," he pleaded to the world, to himself, to the officials, to the Machine, "can't we take it back, can't we make it alive again? Can't we start over? Can't we-"" The atmosphere is tense as Eckels, on his knees, begs for his life with Travis. Then Travis lifts his rifle and "there was a sound of thunder". The reader immediately jumps to the conclusion that Travis has shot Eckels as he threatened, but then when you think about it more you realise it has been left as a cliff hanger. Eckels being shot is not the only possible ending. It is possible that Travis shot himself, so he does not have to live in this new world. We already know a different and unpopular, "anti-everything man... a militarist, anti-Christ, anti-human, anti-intellectual" won the election in comparison to the popular candidate of before, so maybe Travis thinks life will be so awful that he just ends it. Maybe he does not want to live with the guilt of having changed the whole of history. Even though he personally was not the one that stepped off the path, he was still part of it. Another possibility is that the sound of thunder is not a gunshot at all. Perhaps dinosaurs never died out because Eckels stepped on that one butterfly, and the sound of thunder is actually a dinosaur, as this is how the dinosaur was introduced earlier, "Suddenly it all ceased, as if someone had shut a door. Silence. A sound of thunder. Out of the mist, one hundred yards away, came Tyrannosaurus Rex." ...read more.

Conclusion

H.G. Wells has chosen a different approach. He begins with quite a long introduction to the story, gently drawing the reader into the action. He adds many details to keep the readers interest and stimulate the imagination. Wells then chooses to make the story a pantoum in prose, repeating the beginning of the action as the end of the story. In my opinion, I think the beginning and ending of 'A Sound of Thunder' is more effective than 'The Man Who Could Work Miracles'. They provide more excitement for the reader initially, but they are also more memorable after they have been read. 'The Man Who Could Work Miracles' just seems too much like the ending you would typically associate with a child's story, and would probably have seen many times before, or maybe even used yourself. This means it is less interesting, and definitely not as memorable as 'A Sound of Thunder'. There is another reason also however why 'A Sound of Thunder' may seem to be 'better' in ways than 'The Man Who Could Work Miracles', and that is the time it was written in. 'The Man Who Could Work Miracles' is over 100 years old written for people of a time when many things we take for granted or see as normal today did not exist or could not be done. The storyline may seem tame in 'The Man Who Could Work Miracles' because it lacks these things we expect in life today. 'A Sound of Thunder' was written not so long ago, when many of the things that were absent in the time of H.G. Wells were starting to develop. This story is written for people living life much more like people today and so its target audience is more for modern people. Therefore as it is more suited to people like us, it is more interesting for us than 'The Man Who Could Work Miracles', which is written for people living in outdated ways no longer seen. ?? ?? ?? ?? Gemma Sweetman - 1 - ...read more.

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