How does Ray Bradbury use language to create tension?

Categories: Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury uses a lot of different techniques to create tension in his short story, "A Sound of Thunder". The techniques used are adjectives, adverbs, verbs, metaphors, similes, short sentences and he varies the sentence structures to create tension.

The first technique Ray Bradbury uses is Adjectives. He uses them in lists of three, "... great oiled, resilient, striding legs." This emphasizes that part of the description and it has more effect on the reader because it creates a strong image.

Secondly, Ray Bradbury uses interesting verbs to great effect.

He uses verbs like, "flushed", "murmured", and "pronounced". This contrasts from the boring "he said", and it also describes how the character reading the speech says it so there is a more detailed description of how the speech is read.

Thirdly, the writer uses adverbs in the text to allow a better description of verbs. This also helps to clarify the verbs. An example of this is, "... jerked angrily."

Ray Bradbury uses metaphors to enhance descriptions.

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"Its mouth gaped, exposing a fence of teeth..." This helps create a better image in the reader's mind because he describes the Tyrannosaurus Rex's teeth as something else that is easier to express.

The writer uses similes to create tension. "... Sheathed over in a gleam of pebbled skin like the mail of a terrible warrior." This technique is good because it also, like the metaphor, helps the reader to create a mind-image of what is happening in the text.

Bradbury uses short sentences and short paragraphs to a great effect so create tension.

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A good example of this is:

"Suddenly it all ceased, as if someone had shut a door.


A sound of thunder."

This creates tension because it makes the reader, read the sentences faster. This makes the reader think that something is going to happen but they don't know what it is. Another technique used well is having "Silence" on its own paragraph. This emphasizes it a lot.

Another technique used by Ray Bradbury is varying sentence structure. Some of the sentences have then main clause first but then others have the subordinate clause first and this happens with complex and compound sentences too. An example of a complex sentence with the main clause first is:

"It ran, its pelvic bones crushing aside trees and bushes, its taloned feed clawing damp earth, leaving prints six inches deep wherever it settled its weight."

An example of a sentence with the subordinate clause first is:

"Out of the mist, one hundred yards away, came Tyrannosaurus Rex."

Overall Ray Bradbury uses language to create tension well by using many different techniques like adjectives, adverbs, verbs, metaphors, similes, short sentences and sentence varying. These together can make a story much more interesting.

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How does Ray Bradbury use language to create tension?. (2016, Jun 27). Retrieved from

How does Ray Bradbury use language to create tension?
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