Ray Bradbury, well-known American author, playwright, and poet, created his success on no more than his high school diploma. He did, however, learn many valuable lessons in life which he incorporates in his works. Ray Bradbury uses figurative language such as irony, personification, and imagery to artistically present his vision of life’s morals. Bradbury’s use of irony in his pieces establishes how mankind commonly contradicts himself.
In “The Veldt”, George and Lydia hear screams that “sound familiar” but ignore them. The couple also finds their wallet and scarf and disregards how these items were chewed and covered in blood when they found them. George and Lydia receive their last clue when they enter the nursery and see the lions in the background feasting on an unknown prey. “They’ve just been eating… [but they] don’t know what. ” Ray Bradbury turns these foreshadowing events into irony when the parents are killed by the lions.
It is ironic that they have seen the lions devouring something, saw the wallet and scarf, and heard the screams but do not realize that they were the lion’s meal and it was their screams that they heard and the scarf and wallet were chewed by the lions and covered in their own blood.
Bradbury also uses irony in the “Happiness Machine. ” Leo Auffmann created a machine which he claimed brought happiness to the occupant. He convinced his wife to “try it on” but when she got out she shouted, “It lies, that Sadness Machine. ” This is ironic because what Leo thought was a Happiness Machine is really a Sadness Machine.
Leo then finds that true happiness cannot be created by a machine but is found in the heart of his family. In “There Will Come Soft Rains”, the house reads a poem to the emptiness where a family once was. The poem explains how nature “would not mind…if mankind perished utterly. ”
It is ironic because the poem is warning the family how the war will destroy them but nature will continue on when that is exactly what has happened. The family has been killed and the house soon after dies but the sun continues to rise and set as if nothing has happened. Personification is another common literary device in Bradbury’s work.
It is most prominent in “There Will Come Soft Rains. ” Bradbury describes the house with human like qualities in how it defends itself against the fire which is also personified. The house “quivered at each sound” and is described as the attic being the brain and the exposed oak beams as “its bare skeleton” and all of “its nerves revealed. ”
The fire was personified when it “fed upon Picassos and Matisses… [and] lay in beds, stood in windows. ” Bradbury also described the fire as being “clever” as it attacked “the attic brain” and “rushed back into every closet and felt of the clothes hung there.
” Bradbury also uses personification in “The Foghorn. ” He gives the foghorn human-like characteristics when relating it to the monster. The foghorn made a “great deep cry” that vibrated in the “throat of the tower” as the “light, switching its tail,” shone bright in the distance. Bradbury continues to use personification in “The Veldt. ”
The nursery that Wendy and Peter spend most of their time in is described with human-like qualities. The walls changed from blankness to the veldt with a “purr” and “reproduced to the final pebble and bit of straw. ” It is further personified when the room itself kills the parents.
Bradbury also frequently uses imagery in his work. In “The Pedestrian”, he described the highways as “only dry riverbeds” empty of vehicles. Bradbury also points out the “tomblike buildings” and “gray phantoms” along the sides of the road. These vivid descriptions allow the reader to feel the loneliness and absence of life in the city and its streets. The imagery in “The Pedestrian” sets the mood and describes the setting. “The Foghorn” portrays another source of imagery. Bradbury makes the reader visualize the “long grey lawn of the sea stretching away into nothing and nowhere” with his descriptive vocabulary.
He describes how the “stone tower” emitted a light that flashed red and white out to the “lonely ships” “in the cold water far from land. ” This makes the reader understand how secluded McDunn and Johnny were out at the lighthouse and intensifies the oddness of the appearance of the sea monster.
Imagery is also present when McDunn explains to Johnny how the monster “hid away in the Deeps. ” The way he describes the “Deeps” makes it all seem magical yet realistic. Bradbury continues to use imagery in “The Happiness Machine. ” Towards the end of the short story, Leo discovers a real happiness machine.
When he describes this “machine,” he makes the reader visualize a pleasant and warm home filled with joy. This example of imagery contrasts how Bradbury typically uses his words to display desolation and despair. Ray Bradbury expresses similar patterns in his work by using irony, personification, and imagery. He writes with these three types of figurative language in different ways in all of his pieces of work. Bradbury takes common techniques of writing and makes them his own by using them in a certain way to present his ideas in a unique style.
Courtney from Study Moose
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