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We are the people of the 21 st century; and our perception of the reality is quite different from ones of our predecessors. It goes without saying that rapid development of new technologies has played an important role in the process. But there is a question: how does technological progress influences the world around us? Does it changes the situation for better or worsens it? We have been given two quite different works to examine.
They differ so much not only in genre, language and techniques used; but the works were written by two quite different persons, with different perception of life. One of them is the greatest American Science Fiction writer of all time. The other one is a controversial figure, well-known to a great number of people for its simple and vivid prose. One of them lives a life of his invented protagonists and scenes; the other one is a realist, and his heroes are ordinary people with their tragedies and victories.
This difference determines their views of progress and technology in their works. As a science fiction writer, Ray Bradbury has an ability to look to the future. A lot of people can't understand how science fiction predicts future. But a lot of them agree that Ray Bradbury's works are the best example of a realistic style of science fiction. The author gives the readers, the common people, and a picture of another age. The readers are shown the other way of life that is drastically different than theirs.
The result of this difference is usually technology. "A Sound of Thunder" was written by Ray Bradbury, and was first published in Collier's magazine in 1952. It was reprinted in 2005 in A Sound of Thunder and Other Stories. The story is about time travel. It has become possible with the help of new technology, time travel machine.
Time Safari, Inc. and its owner, Charles Hatton, have all rights on it. Time Safari provides safaris anywhere in time. The clients have an opportunity to hunt prehistoric animals. Bradbury states that in the future time travel will be possible.
But he emphasizes that it is a lucrative monopoly. The adventure to travel to future will cost a huge sum of money, as everything that is new and unknown. One of the main protagonists, Ted Eagles pointed that It's awfully expensive. The other one, Christian Middleton, answered: What's the point of being rich if you don't buy things other people can't afford? (Bradbury, p. 10) So, in the story the main heroes pay high price for a short entertainment. In fact, the real price for the travel was too much higher. Every precaution was made by the owner to prevent a time paradox and disturbing history.
Travelers are allowed to shoot only animals that are predestined for death by natural causes or circumstances. The travelers have to stay on a path that hovers above the ground. (Bradbury, p. 53) All these precautions prove that the managers of the project have realized the dangerous after-effects of time travels. They understand that even the slightest mistake can cause major after-effects in the future. But the desire to become rich and famous, providing wealthy clients with exclusive hunting trips back to the Prehistoric Age, is stronger than common sense. Charles Hatton said proudly: Today you stood shoulder to shoulder with Columbus discovering America.
Armstrong stepping on the moon, Brubaker landing on Mars. You are true pioneers on the very last frontier: Time. (Bradbury, p. 104) But expectations of Mr. Hatton did not come true. Time is more powerful and unpredictable rival to new technologies and their inventor: the man. The time travel machine and new technology have become a strong weapon that causes damage in future. Though all travelers are given a set of strenuous rules, it becomes evident that it is impossible to foresee different situations.
These guidelines must protect the creatures' natural habitats. Time travelers must be prevented from impacting the course of evolution. Accidentally, the travelers broke the rules. When the hunters return home, to the future, they notice that the world around them has changed greatly. A time wave from the Prehistoric past has influenced the uncharted future. Most of all, the catastrophic changes may threat humanity and, even, kill it.
Such effect is known in science as chaos theory or the Butterfly Effect. According to the theory, even a single flapping of a butterfly's wings may cause a tornado, for example. It may sound unrealistic that the airspeed velocity of a single butterfly may have such a powerful effect. But later, chaos theory has been tested by scientists; who have proved that the Butterfly Effect is real. Once Ray Bradbury stated that I don't try to describe the future. I try to prevent it. (See, p. 3) He tried to prevent humanity from irreparable steps.
In the story "A Sound of Thunder" the author pays our attention that a desire of people to get into secrets of Time and History with the help of modern technologies will not lead to good results. The results may be unpredictable and even dramatic. In "A Sound of Thunder" Bradbury is scientifically indifferent. The author describes the time machine: "a snaking and humming of wires and steel boxes an aurora that flickered now orange, now silver, now blue. " (Bradbury, p. 27) Though technology has played an important role in Bradbury's career, he feels unhappiness about new or old inventions.
He warns about possible negative effects from new technologies implementation. Some critics call Bradbury a technophobe, a person who is afraid of everything new and unknown. It is known from the authors biography that he spoke against automobiles, telephones, and TV sets; later against the Internet and personal computers. In 2001, Bradbury told to Salon about computers, "A computer is a typewriter. I have two typewriters, I don't need another one. " (See, p. 3) But there are some facts that he supported NASA programs and spoke for colonizing Mars. All these Bradbury's views can be easily found in his work: he has love of machinery but has never learned to drive a car.
He said about space travel in his work, "We move into the universe. We name ourselves, along with our rockets, after old deities. We make ourselves central to existence, knowing not how far we must travel before we meet other mirrors of God staring back into His vast gaze. " (Bradbury, p. 212) The great writer of modern century, Ernest Hemingway, was quite a different person to Bradbury. He was a great realist, and his works are too far from fantasy. His works deal with issues of life, death, and love.
The author depicts a troubled, often violent world that makes people unhappy. Due to Hemingway's spare, objective style, a lot of his contemporaries considered his works as journalistic prose. In Another Country the author proposes two ways of storytelling: of heuristic and therapeutic nature. There are two main heroes in the work: the protagonist, the Italian major, and the first-person narrator, an American. The Italian major was placed to the hospital because his hand had been mangled in battle. Before the war he was a fencing champion; thats why he suffered that all his dreams and plans for future were destroyed.
Most of all, the major lost his young wife. He faced the wall of despair. Special machines for training patients were used with the purpose to give them a hope. Hope is a great and power weapon that helps people to forget all troubles and misfortune. It gives them a chance to begin a new life.
Every day patients gathered for training: Beyond the hospital was the special clinic where we tried machines and treatments we all sincerely hoped would make some difference. (Hemingway, p. 34) In the story, Hemingway is constantly mentioning machines for training as something very important in the life of injured people. A lot of them believed that new technology help them. But the Italian major did not. He was cynical about the machines. He did believe in rehabilitation: neither physical nor moral. The real war was in his soul.
Domestic tragedies and wartime tragedies merged. At the end of the story, the major said the phrase, "I am utterly unable to resign myself" (Hemingway, p. 143) There is no a machine that could give him a happy and peaceful life. He had no hope; and the only wish was to die. It is known for sure that our reactions, and expressions of our thoughts, our attitude towards surrounding determines us as people. It determines our perception of everyday life. In Another Country Hemingway shows readers different people: from the optimistic doctor to the Italian major hardened by war and death.
The author presents the characters inner thoughts. The thoughts influence the attitude of the main characters towards machines for the rehabilitation. As it was pointed earlier, for the doctor machines are a source of hope. The doctor put up large photographs around the wall of various patients who after treatment had been photographed standing on podiums and receiving medals from VIP's. (Hemingway, p. 65) For injured patients those machines were not a source of optimism. They were sure that they were the first who tested them. Thats why they had no idea how any of us would turn out afterwards.
The Italian major was indifferent: The photographs didn't make much difference anyway to my friend (Hemingway, p. 65) He does not wish to leave now because he feels he has nothing else to live for. There is a great distinction between the protagonist and the first-person narrator. It is evident that the war played a bad joke on a lot of people. But the real heroism was shown not in the battles, but true heroism is not passive. True heroism was to live after the war. Hemingway proved it.
Having examined the both works, we can make some conclusions. But I am sure that the main question will be open: Does technological progress changes the situation for better or worsens it? For a period of many millennia mans inquisitive mind strove to penetrate into the depth of the Universe and examine the secrets of humans body and mind. This expresses mans unquenchable thirst for knowledge; his strive to understand his role in the world. Man always tries to penetrate directly into a new sphere, which involves frequently unpredictable discoveries. Scientists are greatly interested in these explorations because they need new data, which have not been found before.
It became possible with the development of new technologies. But could these technologies peep into a mans soul, get to know his inner thoughts and wishes. May be, no. Because each person has two beginnings: his body and his soul.
And soul belongs to God. He has the only power to manage it. Bibliography: Carolyn, See. Pushing into unexplored worlds - Ray Bradbury's.
Chicago Sun-Times, August 21, 2005. Dorothy, Gallagher. In Another Country by Hemingway. The New York Times, April 17, 2005. 160 pages Ernest, Hemingway.
In Another Country. Scribner; 1 st Scribner Paperback Fiction edition, February 21, 1997. Ray, Bradbury. A Sound of Thunder. Harper Perennial, 2005. 352 pages
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