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A Sound of Thunder Discussion Questions

Instructor: Grace Pisano

Grace has a bachelor's degree in history and a master's degree in teaching. She previously taught high school in several states around the country.

After reading the short story, 'A Sound of Thunder' by Ray Bradbury, use this guide to help students think critically about the themes and events discussed in the story. This guide was written with high school students in mind.

A Sound of Thunder by Ray Bradbury

A Sound of Thunder is a science-fiction short story written by author Ray Bradbury. Published in 1952, it tells the fictional tale of what life is like in the year 2055. After reading this story with your high school students, use these questions to help students think critically about the plot and themes of A Sound of Thunder. Although this work will likely be read in an English classroom, there are easy applications and connections to history and science curricula.

Plot Questions

  • What do you think about Lesperance and Travis's warning that changing even just one small thing in the past can have significant impacts on the future? Can you think of a historical example or an example from your own life where this is true?
  • After reading this short story, what do you think Bradbury would say about learning from your mistakes?
  • Does Time Safari Inc seem like a safe and thoughtful company? Why or why not? Were you initially surprised at the steps they went through to ensure that the future would not change?
  • Why is Eckels so adamant that the bullets cannot be left in the dinosaur? Did this initially surprise you?
  • What is different about life in 2055 after Eckels returns from this hunting trip? Can you think about how the series of events that unfolded could have caused this?
  • Some people who read this short story disagree with the way Bradbury ended the story. What did you think about the conclusion of the story?
  • Why is Travis so strict?
  • If you had to describe each of the main characters in the story in only a few words, how would you describe each person?

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