English Class

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25 October 2004, 12:45 PM
English Class
We are writing a paper on different writers in our class and one of them was Ray Bradbury. I have looked through other resource sites and cannot find what I am looking for. Does any body know why Ray decided to write about Perception vs. Reality? If you do can you help me get the answer.
25 October 2004, 01:36 PM
What's the extent of your familiarity with RB?

What have you read by him, or about him?
25 October 2004, 01:38 PM
i have read fahrenheit 451 and a sound of thunder and a lot of diff. biographys. i am having a hard time trying to figure out why he decided to write about perception vs. reality

[This message has been edited by caseynlou322 (edited 10-25-2004).]
25 October 2004, 04:01 PM
If you were ask Ray himself about writing about perception versus reality I am sure that his response might be that he never really thought about it. I nfact when I have talked to him about how people become so introspective of his works, he chuckles and says that he writes what he feels like writing and on topics that come to him during his sleep and early morning hours.

I think that he is sometimes amazed that people try to make so much out of his works.
He has said, and it has been recorded many times, that he writes because he likes to write and that he has to answer his "muses" and not with any great, deep, philosphical meaning.

But I know where you, and many others, including myself, come from. His stuff is so good that it seems that there HAS to be something more to it than just a story.

But, again, other than the obvious themes in FH 451 and Martian Chronicles, the majority of his works are his stories as he see them, and nothing more.
25 October 2004, 04:55 PM
A read of Zen in the Art of Writing would also detail exactly what Biplane is referring to. The book includes numerous articles in which RB has tried to explain exactly when and how it all happens. It is all about metaphor.
Brief review: http://home.earthlink.net/~nunzie945/zen.html

(These posts tie in well with recent exchanges on "Literature and Art" which Dandelion initiated!)

[This message has been edited by fjpalumbo (edited 10-25-2004).]
27 October 2004, 02:09 AM
Mr. Dark
In his introduction to RB An Illustrated Life, Bradbury says he woke up and realized he'd been using metaphors all along and wasn't even fully aware of it.

The fact the he doesn't consciously put "meaning" into his stories doesn't mean he's not putting meaning into them on a subconscious level. The metaphors he "stuffs" his writing with provide a legitimate and rich source or motherlode for studying the meaning in his stories.

He has said he likes the field of fantasy as it allows him to deal with issues that address larger truths and emotions than can be addressed in straight fiction. In this he is similar to Nathaniel Hawthorne, who wrote in what he called areas of dusk. Where the "lighting" created an atmosphere were literal truths were not so important as larger truths. Hawthorne wrote that he wrote "tales" not stories. I think Bradbury falls in to a similar category. I don't think it is coincidental that Bradbury has cited N Hawthorne as one of his favorite authors.
27 October 2004, 06:26 AM
I think you guys are right. The less conscious "thought" Ray gave what he was doing, the better he did it. I know this makes it hard for people trying to write about "what he did, and why." I know my brain shuts off when asked about the "theme" of anything!
27 October 2004, 08:08 AM
I think the person who came up with this question ("Why did Ray decide to write about Perception vs. Reality?") actually confused something...
Isn't it the (or certain) readers who see a theme like this in Ray's stories? Then the question should be something like: "In which way can this or that story tell us something about Perception vs. Reality?"

I think many people still have this out-of-date communication model in their minds when discussing or teaching literature, where there is a writer who wants to communicate a theme and does so by writing down his "message" so you have a text and, finally, it's the reader's task to get the writer's "intended" message by reading the text. But then, this is exactly what I've been taught at school -- and obviously it is still being taught this way. I wonder why...

...And when I think of my own time at school, the simplest explanation for this seems to be the way how a lesson in literature most often looked like: We read a text, and our teacher (in his function as a person of authority) was the one who knew the one meaning of the text we were meant to discover. The one whose interpretation of the text came closest to the meaning our teacher had in mind also got the highest grades -- simple as that.
With this way of teaching literature, a simple model like the one described above comes in handy, beacause as a teacher you just have to sell your students that your "right" interpretation IS the message the writer originally put into the text!

In my opinion, this model might work out well for propaganda texts -- but not for literature.

[This message has been edited by Menes (edited 10-27-2004).]
27 October 2004, 02:49 PM
Menes said:

"The one whose interpretation of the text came closest to the meaning our teacher had in mind also got the highest grades -- simple as that."

Recently we had a teacher visit this site who's class had challenged his/her(and everybody else's) interpretation of A SOUND OF THUNDER. This teacher seemed quite proud and awe-struck at the revelation the students had presented and I think it shed a different light on the story for each of us here as well.

That's good teaching, teaching unrestricted free thinking versus conformity.
27 October 2004, 03:10 PM
To grasstains: Thanks for the compliment to me and my students.
27 October 2004, 03:19 PM
I have really enjoyed reading the posts regarding this thread. True, the question may have been phrased in another manner, but the responses reflect what this web site is all about--healthy, interesting, and meaningful dialogue regarding Ray Bradbury and his writings. Let's all keep it up.
27 October 2004, 04:28 PM

I bet you ARE a grrreat teacher.

And...You're welcome. In fact, it is I who am grateful to you. Thank You.

Are Casey and Lou also your students?
28 October 2004, 11:12 AM
To grasstains up there in Sacratomato - Casey and Lou are not my students. I like your part of the country. How well does court jester pay? Sounds like an interesting gig.
28 October 2004, 11:31 AM
Yes, the discussion of A Sound of Thunder has really been a pleasure to read! And this community provides a nice opportunity to exchange one's ideas and views of each story.

I finally read The Jar yesterday, and it reminded me somehow of this discussion, because each member of Charles' community has got his own ideas of that thing inside the jar:

"From the shine of their eyes one could see that each saw something different in the jar, something of the life and the pale life after life, and the life in death and the death in life, each with his story, his cue, his lines, familiar, old but new."
28 October 2004, 08:11 PM
Mr. Dark
Nice quote. And directly relevant.