A Sound Of Thunder

Mood and Setting


The setting of this story greatly affected the plot. If the setting had not been placed in the future, the time machine invention would’ve never been made. Without a time machine, the entire plot of the story would change. Eckels wouldn’t be able to go on the “safari” and therefore nothing would’ve happened in the plot.

The setting of this short story is situated in the future. The reader knows this because the technology is obviously different from normal, as time machines have not been invented yet in real life. During the story there is a presidential election going on. Eckels and a few other people venture into the past to go on a safari hoping to kill the mighty Tryannosaures Rex. The jungle that they hunt in is lush and untouched because there are no people yet on Earth. The group walks on a metal path that hovers over the ground, not touching a single thing in fear that it will change the future. When the group arrives back after the dinosaur ordeal, they notice that the language is different and that there is a different president that was picked than the one picked before they went on the journey. People (including the man behind the desk) had different opinions over the canidate that they liked the best.


Beginning mood: anxious

  • “ 'Does this safari guarantee I come back alive?' " (Bradbury 1). This specific quote shows that the main character, Eckels, is debating whether the safari is safe or not. He is worrying that something could go wrong on the trip and that he will die because of it. The fact that he is going on a safari to hunt dinosaurs is an extremely scary task that may or may not lead to death. Knowing that his life is on the line makes him very anxious for the trip. Next,

  • “Your personal check's still there. Tear it up."Mr. Eckels looked at the check. His fingers twitched” (Bradbury 2). In this quote the author is describing the doubt and eagerness Eckels feels towards the safari trip. His "fingers twitched" as the author says, towards the check paying for the trip to rip it up and not go. The anxiety he felt almost causes him to turn back on and not go on the safari.

Middle mood: terrified

  • “ 'Get me out of here," said Eckels. "It was never like this before. I was always sure I'd come through alive. I had good guides, good safaris, and safety. This time, I figured wrong. I've met my match and admit it. This is too much for me to get hold of' “ (Bradbury 6). In this scene, Eckels has just caught his first glimpse of the horrifying tyrannosaurus rex. Seeing how much more large, strong and terrifying this creature was than the animals that he had hunted before petrifies Eckels. He knows that this beast can easily put and end to his life at that moment. In any situation where death stares you right in the face, all someone can think about is the terror it can bring, just like Eckels in this situation.

  • “Its eyes rolled, ostrich eggs, empty of all expression save hunger. It closed its mouth in a death grin. It ran, its pelvic bones crushing aside trees and bushes, its taloned feet clawing damp earth, leaving prints six inches deep wherever it settled its weight. It ran with a gliding ballet step, far too poised and balanced for its ten tons” (Bradbury 5). The author describes the tyrannosaurus rex in such horrifying detail that portrays how the character, Eckels thinks of the creature. The way the author describes it from Elckels point of view clearly shows how terrified he is of this creature. Specific words like "death grin", "its ten tons" and "empty of all expression save hunger" illustrates the ugly, terrifying feelings that Eckels is experiencing in this section with the dinosaur.

End mood: Regretful

  • “Eckels moaned. He dropped to his knees. He scrabbled at the golden butterfly with shaking fingers. "Can't we," he pleaded to the world, to himself, to the officials, to the Machine, "can't we take it back, can't we make it alive again? Can't we start over? Can't we­" “ (Bradbury 10). In this scene, Eckels is pleading with regret, to go back in time to try and stop what he has done to the present time. He realizes how much of an impact killing one butterfly did to the world and wishes that he could go back and change how he reacted to the T-rex and regrets not listening to the safari guides. If only he hadn't stepped off the path, then the language, president and many other aspects of life would be different.

  • “ "Not a little thing like that! Not a butterfly!" cried Eckels. It fell to the floor, an exquisite thing, a small thing that could upset balances and knock down a line of small dominoes and then big dominoes and then gigantic dominoes, all down the years across Time. Eckels' mind whirled. It couldn't change things. Killing one butterfly couldn't be that important! Could it?” (Bradbury 10). Eckels is in disbelief that only a small thing, like stepping on a butterfly, could change the world forever. The quote explains how that one tiny thing can lead to another and end up as a huge problem. Eckels didn't realize this, and in the moment of terror when the T-rex was upon him, he didn't think before he acted. Therefore this lead to the drastic changes in the future that Eckels regrets.

The mood in this story does change. Although there is a sense of fear and anxiety throughout the whole plot, in the beginning, middle and end, the author portrays different feelings through his writing. The three moods I chose for the beginning, middle and end all are a lot alike, but each represent how the author describes each scene. In the beginning, the mood is anxious because Eckels hasn’t hunted yet and he is predicting that something will go wrong. In the middle the mood changes because Eckels is in the presence of the Tyrannosaurus Rex Dinosaur and is the scene is less anxious, it is more frightening. Lastly, I described the ending mood of the story as regretful. The mood changed from pure terror to regret and grief for the actions he had previously made. The ending mood is like the first one a little bit, in the aspect of worrying of what is going to happen, but overall, the mood changed.