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The Study Of Ray Bradbury Essay, Research Paper

The Study of Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury is one of American literature s foremost authors of science fiction. He has been able to attract readers to his works that are avid followers of science fiction, as well as, the casual reader of science fiction. His influence has flowed over to areas outside of the written word, such as movies and television programs.

Ray Bradbury was born in Waukegan, Illinois, 1920. The third son of Leonard Spaulding Bradbury and Esther Marie Moberg Bradbury. In the fall of 1926 Ray Bradbury’s family moved from Waukegan, Illinois to Tucson, Arizona, only to return to Waukegan again in May 1927. By 1931, he began writing his own stories on butcher paper. In 1932, after his father was laid off his job as a telephone lineman, the Bradbury family again moved to Tucson and later returned to Waukegan the following year. In 1934 the Bradbury family moved to Los Angeles, California. Bradbury graduated from a Los Angeles High School in 1938. His formal education ended there, but he furthered it by himself at night in the library and by day at his typewriter.

He sold newspapers on Los Angeles street corners from 1938 to 1942. Bradbury’s first story publication was “Hollerbochen’s Dilemma,” printed in 1938 in Imagination!, an amateur fan magazine. Bradbury’s first paid publication was “Pendulum” in 1941 to Super Science Stories. In 1942, Bradbury wrote “The Lake,” the story in which he discovered his distinctive writing style. In 1947 Bradbury married Marguerite McClure.

For more than half a century science fiction writers have thrilled and challenged an insight into what they expected man, society, and the universe to be like at some future time. In Ray Bradbury s novel Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury utilized this concept in his work, a futuristic look at man and his role in society. Bradbury show the luxuries of life in America today, in addition to various occupations and technological advances, to show what life could be like, if the future takes a drastic turn for the worse. He turns man s best friend, the dog, against man, and changes the role of public servants like firemen from fighting fires to book burners.

In Fahrenheit 451, Guy Montag begins to discover that things could be better in his society, but some uncontrollable events, his discovery happens much

faster than it would under normal circumstances. Montag is opened up to the ways of a life in which people read, think, and live freely. He is forced out on his own, away from society, to live with others like himself that think differently than that of the society.

Ray Bradbury had serveral major accomplishments in his life. In 1945, his short story “The Big Black and White Game” was selected for Best American Short Stories. Ray Bradbury’s work has been included in the Best American Short Story collections for 1946, 1948, and 1952. He has been awarded the O. Henry Memorial Award, the Benjamin Franklin Award in 1954, the Aviation-Space Writer’s Association Award for best space article in an American Magazine in 1967, the World Fantasy Award for lifetime achievement, and the Grand Master Award from the Science Fiction Writers of America. His animated film about the history of flight, Icarus Montgolfier Wright, was nominated for an academy award, and his teleplay of The Halloween Tree won an Emmy.

Ray Bradbury’s writing has been honored in many ways, but perhaps the most unusual way was when an Apollo astronaut named the Dandelion Crater on the moon after Bradbury’s novel, Dandelion Wine.

Outside of his literary achievements, Ray Bradbury was the idea consultant and wrote the basic scenario for the United States Pavilion at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. He conceived the metaphors for Spaceship Earth , at EPCOT, at Disney World, in Orlando, Florida. He contributed to the conception of the

Orbitron space ride at Euro-Disney, France. He was creative consultant for the Jon Jerde Partnership, the architectural firm that blueprinted the Glendale Galleria and The Westside Pavilion in Los Angeles, and Horton Plaza in San Diego.

Bradbury’s best-known work, is the novel Fahrenheit 451. It was released in 1953 and is set in the future, when the written word is forbidden. In Fahrenheit 451, the theme is of individual discovery, by refusing to accept a passive approach to life, and refusing to confirm. In addition, the refusal of various methods of escape from reality is shown to be a path to discovery. The relationship and living arrangement, is Bradbury s way of showing what life could be like, if people stop communicating and also stop thinking and choosing.

Thus loosing control over their lives. Montag and his wife continue to live together through people in that situation today would not hesitate to terminate such a relationship. Montag s wife apparently accepts this relationship because it is normal for the security in which she lives. (Wolfheim)

Montag s marriage also serves a setting to contrast passive acceptance versus questioning of society s values. His marriage is not the happy kind that couples today experience, but more like a coexistence. He and his wife live together and he supports her, though he apparently neither loves her nor expects her to love him.

The Martian Chronicles in 1950, describes the first attempts of Earth people to conquer and colonize Mars. The constant thwarting of their efforts by the gentle, telepathic Martians, the eventual colonization, and finally the effect on the Martian settlers of a massive nuclear war on Earth. As much a work of social criticism as of science fiction, The Martian Chronicles reflect some of the prevailing anxieties of America in the early atomic age of the 1950’s. Some anxieties expressed were the fear of nuclear war, the longing for a simpler life, reactions against racism and censorship, and the fear of foreign political powers.

The tone of the stories vary from one another. Some are very much in the mode of the horror tales. Which he had at first specialized in, and others are earnest parables of human folly. The Martians sometimes behave like monsters and sometimes like saints.

One striking feature of many of these stories is the progressive political values which they embrace. Written during the height of the Cold War anti-Communist hysteria, they criticize imperialism, racism, environmental pollution, censorship, and the nuclear arms race. These stories made Bradbury’s reputation. Many readers who never opened another science fiction book embraced The Martian Chronicles. This called a major stirring among his hard-core fans, who felt betrayed by his mainstream success. They disdained him as not the real thing.

His earlier technique of writing in the mode of horror tales is reflected in several stories, while others are earnest parables of human folly. With the passage of time, the book has been accepted with all its flaws as a Science Fiction classic, whose charm and vividness still appeal. Many of the stories are as artfully crafted as anything in the genre.

Ray Bradbury s rich carrer has been over a span of more than sixty years. He has received many awards from his chosen profession, science organizations, the entertainment industry, and from his loyal readers.

His political views against racism, censorship, and the use of nuclear war were themes that were common to his works. Mr. Bradbury is living today in California and is still active with his writing. Several generations of fiction readers have been influenced by this man. Ray Bradbury is truly one of America s greatest science fiction authors.

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