The Last Night of the World by Ray Bradbury
In The Last Night of the World by Ray Bradbury we have the theme of acceptance, conflict, routine and powerlessness. Taken from his The Stories of Ray Bradbury collection the story is narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator and after reading the story the reader realises that Bradbury may be exploring the theme of acceptance. Neither the husband nor his wife have a fear about the world ending. It is as though they completely accept what will happen. They even go through their evening as normal as possible. Going as far as tucking their children into bed. It is also interesting that the husband (or wife) do not tell their children about the end of the world. There seems to be no point in frightening them.
What is also interesting is the lack of conflict (inner) in the story. None of the husband’s co-workers are afraid or in conflict with themselves. They simply accept what is going to happen. Something that some readers might find unusual. However the reality is that people are powerless. There is nothing they can do to change the situation they find themselves in. If anything they have no option but to accept the predicament they find themselves in. It may also be a case that Bradbury is highlighting how resilient the human spirit can be. Nothing will get it down, not even the end of the world.
There may also be some symbolism in the story that might be important. The fact that the husband and his wife do the dishes could suggest a carefree attitude. The children playing in the house could also represent a carefree nature. The fact that all of the husband’s co-workers have the same dream may also be significant. It may be a case that the end of the world is inevitable. That everybody knows it will happen that night.
The end of the story is interesting as Bradbury appears to be exploring the theme of routine. The husband and wife do the same things that they do every evening. There is no deviation from this. This too could be important as it suggests not only the carefree nature of the couple but also their acceptance of what is going to happen. Whether this acceptance comes easy to the couple is difficult to say. Though it is noticeable there is no fear in either characters voice. Throughout the story they remain calm even if the wife is somewhat curious she still believes what her husband is telling her.