The Illustrated Man Analysis

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In the intense short story collection The Illustrated Man, author Ray Bradbury introduces various themes about human flaws in society. Among these themes is the idea of living in a chaotic society, how people are affected by this, and how one can maintain sanity. Bradbury uses a number of short stories to show different perspectives of chaos and its effects on the characters, followed by how each character handles their particular situation. Bradbury uses the theme of living in an insane society to prompt a discussion on modern society and its people’s experiences of similar insanities and the way in which they deal with them. In both The Illustrated Man and modern society, chaos is shown to be caused by the constant spread of information.…show more content…
In the short story “The Last Night of the World,” the characters are so numb to danger, they are unaffected when they learn they will all die soon. This allows readers to realize how modern society is just as desensitized when it comes to violence. Unlike the frantic group in “The Highway,” the characters in “The Last Night of the World” are able to stay calm about their end and discuss it as if it were only a dream. When talking about how each character would spend their time on that night, one responds they would “go to a show, listen to the radio, watch television, play cards, put the children to bed, [and] go to bed themselves, like always” (92). Noting the fact that everyone will simply indulge in everyday activities on doomsday, readers can infer the level of desensitization these people are suffering from. Because “the world [has been] busy being lots of awful things,” another disaster has these people unphased. Undoubtedly, this is a coping mechanism for these characters. In the modern world this can also be an issue. Just as in Bradbury’s story, today’s society has also been desensitized by the chaos around it. Modern people have become numb when it comes to the importance of social issues because of the abundance of problems broadcasted across the world. People can now hear about “the kind of violence that once shocked [them] of the Vietnam era [and] is now funneled in all day and…show more content…
Unlike “Kaleidoscope”, people do not usually go through life and death situations, but often times, they go through rough stages in their lives that may sway them off path. In times like this, people go to escapism a way to cope with anxieties. Luckily, when using escapism, people are essentially using their imaginations. It is normally to bring imagination into the process of acceptance in someone’s time of need, for “the desire to be the subcreator of an imagined world is perfectly healthy… the desire to subcreate as a desire is part of who we are as human beings” (Corey). Imagination serves as a powerful coping mechanism. Bradbury shows this, as well, in the short story “The Long Rain”. This story features struggling characters withstanding a continuous, neverending rainstorm. Using their imaginations, the men cherish what they imagine a Sun Dome, a symbol of warmth and sanity, would feel like. This pushes most of the characters to continue on their journey of survival and, hopefully, reach the desired destination. Just as in the short story, imagination is also helpful to modern society. Imagining a goal, or a place where someone wants to be someday can help that person achieve acceptance, help them grow, and eventually pull them out of their insanities. Imagining scenarios, also known as daydreaming, “helps to hone our social skills” and
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