Illustrated Man Essay

2045 words - 9 pages

Stephen Cummings
1/8/09
Short Story
Final Paper

Man Vs Machine
“It was a warm afternoon in early September when I first met the Illustrated Man. Walking along an asphalt road, I was on the final leg of a two weeks’ walking tour of Wisconsin. Late in the afternoon I stopped, ate some pork, beans, and a doughnut, and was preparing to stretch out and read when the Illustrated Man walked over the hill and stood for a moment against the sky.” (1). This describes how the narrator first meets the Illustrated Man. He becomes intrigued by the moving tattoos on the Illustrated Man’s body and discovers each of them tells a different story. Each story in Ray Bradbury’s collection, The ...view middle of the document...

The nursery was seemingly harmless based on the fact it was controlled by 10-12 year old kids. Nevertheless, one morning, the father decides to take a look at the nursery to make sure everything was okay. He walked into an African veldt. The father was overwhelmed with the intense sounds and realistic smells of the veldt. The smell of blood and death worried the father. He describes his experience by saying,
“And here were the lions now, fifteen feet away, so real, so feverishly and startlingly real that you could feel the prickling fur on your hand, and your mouth was stuffed with the dusty upholstery smell of their heated pelts, and the yellow of them was in your eyes like the yellows of an exquisite French tapestry, the yellows of lions and summer grass, and the sound of the matted lion lungs exhaling on the silent noontide, and the smell of meat from the panting, dripping mouths.” (8).

Bradbury is describing how real and intense the nursery truly is and explains why the father was so frightened. He begins to reflect on this among other things and discovers his family has become too dependent on technology and even obsessed with it. He decides to get his family away from it all for awhile. When the children hear about this, however, they are enraged. They demand that the nursery is turned back on. After much complaining from their childen, the parents decide to turn it on for a few moments while they pack. While packing for the recently planned family vacation, the parents hear screams coming from the nursery and rush down to the room. As they enter, however, their children lock the door behind them leaving the parents trapped in the African veldt. The story ends as several lions converge on the parents ultimately leading to their death. In escense, the technology of the house replaced the need for family and parents. George at one point even says, “That’s just it. I feel like I don’t belong here. This house is wife and mother now and nursemaid. Can I give a bath and scrub the children as efficiently or quickly as the automatic scrub bath can?” (10). George is nervous about the idea that perhaps the house and technology as a house is taking his place. Although an outrageous story, Bradbury is trying to show how the abuse of technology leads to obsession and dependency and ultimately destruction such as children murdering their parents.
In a rather different story, Bradbury discusses the idea of technology as a replacement for family and people for that matter. “Marionettes, Inc.” begins with two friends talking to each other about their plans for the next few months. The one man, Smith, is surprised when his friend, Braling, tells him of his plan to visit Rio without his wife. Smith just doesn’t understand how Braling would be able to do this since Braling’s wife needs to be at his side constantly and even forced him into marriage. Braling then begins to explain how he will be able to get away with it. He...

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