I love a good dark, deep, and sad story! Lets start with Ray Bradbury’s short story. At a glance, a typical sci-fi setting with technology being part of a daily routine. But look deeper and a haunting message has been laid out before us. I feel this story has something to do with nuclear war and fear of extinction. WHY might I come up with such a theory? Well its 1 am and my brain is just spilling out insane ideas. But lets look at what is given, at the very beginning in the title is given the year 1950, besides the story’s setting of 2026 in the title, which must be the year of publication of Bradbury’s short story (duhh). What is so significant of the year 1950? Well, I’m no history buff but that’s around the time of the Cold War. Cold what, you say? Plain and simple a long stand-off between countries threatening to launch their nuclear bombs. And 5 years before that was the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima. Hmm, how is that relevant to Bradbury’s story? Ok lets dig into the story. First off we know from the beginning that there seems to be no one in this home “The morning house lay empty.” (Bradbury, 1). Not really a twist but wait, we find out that this home is just an empty carcass of an empty city “The house stood alone in a city of rubble and ashes. This was the one house left standing. At night the ruined city gave off a radioactive glow which could be seen for miles.” (Bradbury, 1). And it mentions a radioactive glow, meaning this city has been affected by radiation and the city is in rubble, so it must be from a bomb…a nuclear bomb.
“Here the silhouette in paint of a man mowing a lawn. Here, as in a photograph, a woman bent to pick flowers. Still farther over, their images burned on wood in one titanic instant, a small boy, hands flung into the air; higher up, the image of a thrown ball, and opposite him a girl, hands raised to catch a ball which never came down.” (Bradbury, 1). Wow, that is still on page one and it gave me chills down my spine. Silhoutte body’s burned into the side of the house, most likely a nuclear bomb struck and this family must have just been carrying on their day normally without a care in the world. It seems that this nuclear bombing/disaster happened recently in the story. Going back to when you first see the mentioning of the dog, “A dog whined, shivering, on the front porch.” (Bradbury, 2) and considering the, most likely, nuclear disaster, it seems that this disaster was particularly recent as radiation poisoning, especially in large amounts, can kill the affected fast. And this dog somehow survived the incinerating blast of radiation but still poisoned by its remaining effects. “The dog, once huge and fleshy, but now gone to bone and covered with sores” (Bradbury, 2) obviously decaying from poisoning.
“Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree, if mankind perished utterly; And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn Would scarcely know that we were gone.” (Teasdale) A poem recited on page 3 of Bradbury’s short story, very dark a scary and hindsight to the story. Why was it used in Bradbury’s short story and how does it relate to my theory? Well, first off before the poem even begins in parenthesis says War Time, might not say anything nuclear but like any war in general it will bring destruction an extinction. This poem was originally published by Sara Teasdale in the 1920’s and that was 2 years after WWI so the fear and damage of war was still lingering.
The short animated film was a nice adaptation, completely different of course from the Bradbury story. It also contains evidence of my theory. At 1:26 you see ashes of body’s in the beds, and the fall down when the beds erect so it shows that the disaster happened recently. Which is why I think the machine does not really notice a change in both video and text, though its a robot so it doesn’t matter I guess. Back to 1:22 you see radiation suits hanging on the wall of this couple’s bedroom which supports my theory of fear of nuclear war and extinction because why would a family keep radiation suits laying around, because they were living in constant fear that one day they’ll need it, so they knew this disaster would happen. And not only that but in 7:47 when the machine attacks itself causing the explosion the explosion looks like a mushroom cloud, nukes cause that. And that scene symbolizes that our creations will destroy us.