Ray Bradbury Fiction and Film

The Fiction and Film of Ray Bradbury: "The Illustrated Man."
Photo by Alan Light.

Taking Bradbury Seriously edit

Classifying Ray Bradbury's fictional narratives is a complicated matter. Starting with assumptions and a rigorous analysis regarding the importance of artistic experiences in his short fiction, novels and adaptations to film, science fiction and fantasy hold a high regard for his explorations into reality by way of dreams, memories and imagination.

  • The Illustrated Man was first published in 1951. The written collection contains eighteen short fictional narratives. Three of Bradbury's strongest works were adapted and dramatized in a 1969 film directed by Jack Schmidt. Film Credits The film contains, "The Veldt," "The Long Rain," and "The Last Night of the World." Film in it's entirety on line
  • The film, directed without the cooperation of Bradbury, offers Rod Steiger (Carl) as the first person narrater. Similar to the written collection, with each scene changes of the tales, the protagionist also changes but there remains an implied narration of Steiger. Rod Steiger has starred in such classic films as On the Water Front (1956), Dr. Zhivago (1965), and The Godfather (1972) Rod Steiger biography among other successful films. Steiger utilizes the style of language and dialogue to portray his characters via a command voice, incorporating four elements: distinctness, loudness, inflection and projection.
  • The story line of the film The Illustrated Man is linear and easy for the viewer to follow, with an effective use of flashbacks to tell the story. The screen play consists of eight scenes, positioned in the early 1900's. The main character Carl is a professional Hobo who at one time worked in a traveling carnival as a "carnie" equipment and tent hand. Carl is barely literate. In a synchronistic manner he runs into a young man (William) who is also on the road to see his family. While the young man seems educated, in keeping with defining opposites, Carl becomes the teacher and William the student.
    Movie Marquee
  • The illustrations that cover Carl's body, come alive to tell the stories. The artistic tatooing completed by a seductive beautiful woman, Felicia. The name Felicia is latin in origin and means happy, lucky, or fortunate dictionary.comThis could be a purposeful play on words, due to the fact that Carl is anything but happy; rather a nightmare in reality. Carl's demeaner towards Felicia at this time could be looked upon as submissive and obeying, as if Felicia cast a spell. She promises to make Carl "the most beautiful man in the world." A sexual nuance of reward is insinuated by Felicia in both speech and action. Using non-verbal communication, looking into each other eye's, is romanticaly suggestive of Bradbury's communication style.
  • The tales in the film are unified as the stories are told in one night and in a single location. Futuristic terms are infused in the film: "be well," instantaneous atmosphere," "minister of mental health," and "globalization" further identifying Bradbury's focus on future events. They also exemplify Bradbury's attention to gothic horror, through predictions of future events, and the sexual overtones of a carnival atmosphere. The wearing of illustrations could be a metaphor for the author himself or any storyteller. The hullicinations William experiences could be a warning regarding the implications of modernity being unimaginable and sterile without supernatural literature, bring predicitons that Bradbury explores in overting possible futures.
    • Themes explored include: Space exploration, dependency on technology, relience on governments and a rejection of creative literature and inventive myths.

Criticism edit

Reviews edit

The Illustrated Man, Book Cover
  • The magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction suggests in their October 1997 article: "It's hard to believe that it's now been forty-six years since these stories first saw print because they're still as vibrant and startling and telling...with strong characters, fascinating ideas, crisp dialogue.

As such, it's as fascinating as visiting Dickens' London, or Poe's New England."

  • The New York Times review of Bradbury by Paul Malouf article, June 2010 states: "Everyone wants to see the pictures, and yet nobody wants to see them..." The scenes hypnotize the narrator.

What follows are 18 horror and science-fiction short stories that the narrator witnesses being acted out in the tattoos, from stranded astronauts to home technology gone bad. This classic book from 1951 is perfect for summer reading because you can breeze through a good story in one sitting."

Suggested Readings & Websites edit

  • Asimov, Isaac [1]

The Foundation Trilogy

  • Atwood, Margaret [2]

The Handmaid's Tale

  • Bradbury, Ray [3]

Dandelion Wine, Fahrenheit 451, The Illustrated Man, The Martian Chronicles, and Something Wicked This Way Comes

  • Burgess, Anthony [4]

A Clockwork Orange

  • Clarke, Arthur C. [5]

2001: A Space Odyssey

  • Dick, Philip K. [6]

The Man in the High Castle, and Ubik

  • Gibson, William [7]


  • Heinlein, Robert [8]

Stranger in a Strange Land, and Time Enough for Love

  • Herbert, Frank [9]


Brave New World

  • Le Guin, Ursula K. [11]

The Left Hand of Darkness

The Chronicles of Narnia

  • McCarthy, Cormac [13]

The Road

Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone

Journey to the Center of the Earth

The Island of Dr. Moreau, and The Time Machine

References edit

  • Bradbury, Ray. The Illustrated Man. New York: Batan Books, 1967. Print.
  • Cassina, Beatrice. "Ray Bradbury's `theater of the morning': when his characters come talk to

him, he listens." The Writer 1.26 (2003): General OneFile. Web. 28 June 2010.

  • De Lint, Charles. "The Illustrated Man." The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction 93 (1997): p.41. General OneFile. Web. 29 June 2010.
  • Malouf, Paul. "The Illustrated Man." New York Times Upfront 14 May 2001: 22. General OneFile. Web. 29 June 2010.
  • Meola, Frank M. "Future past: Ray Bradbury's American dreams." South Carolina Review 42.2 (2010): 124-133. General OneFile. Web. 29 June 2010
  • Reid, Robin Anne. Ray Bradbury: A Critical Companion. Westport: Greenwood Press, 2000. Print.
  • Riley, Jenelle. "Ray Bradbury. (What's Up With ...)." Back Stage West 10.14 (2003): General

OneFile. Web. 28 June 2010.

See also edit

  • The 1969 Film, please view on line through stageVU [17]
  • Internet Movie Data Base, please view the official movie trailer[18]
Educational level: this is a tertiary (university) resource.
Subject classification: this is a religious resource.
Subject classification: this is a psychology resource.

````--Candyangel43 14:31, 28, June 2010 (UTC)Candyce