Racism Exposed In Ray Bradbury's The Illustrated Man

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In the compilation of short stories the Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury, the future is portrayed in a series of vignettes criticizing society in order to warn the audience of the results of their continued flaws. In each of these stories, Bradbury demonstrates the negative effects of various ideas, such as our growing reliance on technology, systematic racial oppression, and the lack of imagination in today’s world.
The first story is “the Veldt,” which details the demise of Mr. and Mrs. George Hadley at the hands of their children, who have become so attached to their nursery and so alienated from their parents that they kill them with the power of their imagination. This story raises several criticisms of society, especially the increasing …show more content…

In this short story, whites have exiled all blacks to Mars, where this population has lived peacefully for several decades. While this story’s main criticism is of racism, Bradbury’s pick-and-choose interpretation excludes many aspects. The ubiquitous and systematic racism of today and it’s watered-down portrayal “the Other Foot” are quite distinct. Today’s racism manifests in subtle ways, such as the gradual integration of racialized language (e.g., welfare queen) into pop culture through social media, but also in highly publicized and violent events, such as the controversy surrounding Ferguson. On the other hand, Bradbury’s racism is distant and somewhat diluted, given the light-years of separation between the oppressed and the oppressors and the unrealistically redemptive ending. This distance effectively eradicates all forms of racism that are not as visible or highly publicized in today’s media as violence, such as acts of prejudice and discrimination. (Although homicide is, admittedly, far more perversely exciting material than housing discrimination.) In turn, this omission absolves both parties when they come to an armistice when, in reality, the majority of racism today manifests in such subversive methods. However imprecise in its criticism, “the Other Foot” remains accurate in its main tenets. Bradbury does not do justice to the exact depth and range of racism that is so thoroughly …show more content…

In fact, the phenomena he predicted more than fifty years ago as happening due to the technological advances human society as made are uncannily accurate. He viewed science fiction as the most pointed means to criticize society: “The mainstream hasn’t been paying attention to all the changes in our culture during the last fifty years… It’s a great shame… Why the fiction of ideas should be so neglected is beyond me…” (Bradbury, the Paris Review). Even after his death, and most certainly for far into the future, Bradbury will remain and perhaps even augment his reputation as a notable novelist and social

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