Theme Of The Illustrated Man

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The Illustrated Man, a science fiction novel written by Ray Bradbury, reaches the first publication in 1951, post World War II society and a current Cold War environment. The time period and characteristics of World War II, the Cold War, and foreshadowing of the Civil Rights Movement serve as important influences for Bradbury’s subject and themes of the novel. Recurring ideas of censorship, technology, justice, and largely death, exist in events and fears of the day. Leading all themes to tie into an allegorical warning Bradbury directs to an audience of American youth, fearful of nuclear war with the Soviet Union, artist in Hollywood during the age of McCarthyism, or anyone fearful of a relevant issue, such as, the possibilities of…show more content…
The subject of Lespere’s accomplishments are nothing special or moral, multiple wives on multiple planets, but it gives a meaning to Lespere, that Hollis fails to find in his own life, and for that reason Hollis’s reaction speaks of sadness and jealousy. These memories and feelings of achievement comfort Lespere in death, and the lack of those same feelings leave Hollis broken and fearful. Bradbury takes the time to generalize the characterization of Hollis in this manner, shaping the inner conflict of the rocket man’s death. With the radio out of reach, Bradbury expounds upon Hollis’ internal conflicts, Hollis questions if there is, “anything I can do now to make up for a terrible and empty life [...] a good thing” (39). Drifting alone in space, with an ultimate end of burning up in the atmosphere, fear of pain does not overwhelm him, but the lack of meaning in life causes him a more daunting and permanent perception on death. The obvious internal struggle of Hollis, is Bradbury’s way of communicating this in a thematic way. Ultimately, Hollis discovers that his death appears like a meteor, and desires that it will provide joy for somebody. That pleases him, because he dies with a purpose after not living with one. Bradbury conveys the struggle of Hollis death through the amount of struggle and internal conflict he faces prior to his death, the desires he expresses
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