Early Life• Born on August 22, 1922• Had a very happy childhood• Had an obsession overadventure books and themagicians/magic• Avidly read Frank Baum,Edgar Rice Burroughs, andJules Verne• Made a decision to be awriter by the age of 12 or13, but changed his mindnumerous times
Growing Up• Many scholars give credit toBradbury’s loving family whois responsible for nurturingBradbury’s interests.• Bradbury loved to writestories about his family asexpressed within his earlystories.
Home = “Greentown”• Bradbury wrote a short story, “Greentown” inwhich emulated Waukegan, IL where he grew up.• Within the story, Bradbury’s uncle can fly, atraveling circus becomes a school for thesupernatural, and his grandparents provideshelter for Charles Dickens.– Most of his early stories did not fall under the horrorgenre.• Because his family would move between Illinoisand Arizona frequently, Bradbury wanted tocreate a perfect town, free of problems.
Teenage Years• In 1931, Bradbury moved toLos Angeles.• He would go throughHollywood trying to spotcelebrities.• Made friends with RayHarryhausen (special effectsmaster) and radio starGeorge Burns).• Tried to write like Poe whenhe was eighteen, butdecided a unique style wasneeded
Teenage Years• George Burns recognized Bradbury’s talent asa writer for the Burns and Allen Show.– Bradbury would write jokes, clearly not part of thehorror genre!
High School• Bradbury attended Los Angeles high schoolwhere he participated in the drama club• His future goal was to be an actor, butchanged to writer when two of his teachersencouraged his writing abilities.• Bradbury’s works were all influenced by thesetwo women, Snow Longley Housh and JeannetJohnson.
Post High School• Bradbury graduated in 1938, but did notattend college.• Instead he educated himself, by readingnewspapers and going to the library to read.• He would write short stories about the currentissues in the news, embellished with his twistof events.
A Rising Career• Bradbury’s first published story was“Hollerbochens Dilemma” which was printedin a fan magazine called Imagination!– Story about Hollerbochen who knows he will diethe next day.
Continuing Career• In 1941, Bradbury waspaid to print the shortstory “Pendulum”within Super ScienceStories, a magazine.• To strengthen hisskills, Bradburyreceived mentoringfrom Henry Kuttner,Leigh Brackett, RobertHeinlein and HenryHasse.
Marriage• Bradbury wed Marguerite McClure in 1947– She was a clerk at a book shop where Bradbury visitedoften.• At the wedding, Ray Harryhausen (famous visualeffects creator) served as best man.• Bradbury had four daughters– Susan, Ramona, Bettina, Alexandra
Rocketing into Science Fiction• Bradbury entered science fiction where hebecame a leading pioneer of the genre .• Reputation skyrocketed with a science fictionnovel called The Martian Chronicles.– The story envelopes man struggle to survive on adistance planet– This novel alludes to the 1950s conflicts such ascensorship, nuclear war, racism, and foreignpolitics.
Fahrenheit 451• Bradbury’s most famous work, released 1953• Takes place in a Totalitarian regime• Chronicles the story of Montag, who relishesburning books, a law implemented by thegovernment.• Montag begins to question his acts, stealsbooks, and then is educated by a professor• When discovered Montag runs away.
Awards• O. Henry Memorial Award• Benjamin Franklin Award (1954)• Aviation-Space Writers Association Award forBest Space Article in an American Magazine(1967)• World Fantasy Award for LifetimeAchievement• Grand Master Award from the Science FictionWriters of America
Film Adaptations• Alfred Hitchcock asked Bradbury to helpcreate some episodes for the TV series AlfredHitchcock Presents– “Shopping for Death”– “Design for Loving”– “Special Delivery”– “The Life Work of Juan Diaz”– “The Jar” – 1 hour episode
Later Life• Bradbury wrote numerous stories incorporatinghorror and science fiction.• Bradbury has received most of his recognition forFahrenheit 451 (science fiction)• In 1980, a film adaptation of The MartianChronicles was created, greatly disappointingBradbury.• He was given a star on the Hollywood Walk ofFame.• Ray Bradbury passed away at the age of 91 onJune 6, 2012
Lasting Impressions• Bradbury has an asteroid named after him 9766Bradbury• Was a key player in the 1964 World’s Fair in NewYork, creating the script for the US Pavilion.• Contributed his knowledge of science to Disney’sSpaceship Earth at EPCOT (WDW) and Orbitron atDisneyland parks in Paris and Anaheim.• Bradbury discusses his accomplishments:• http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTXckvj7KL4
But what about horror?• Bradbury’s works of horror include:– The Martian Chronicles– The October Country– “The Jar”– “The Fog Horn”– “Marionettes Inc.”– “The April Witch”– “The Scythe” – (today’s reading)
Science Fiction vs. Horror• Although not as well know for his horrorstories as his science fiction stories, Bradburyincorporates horror into most of his stories.• The Martian Chronicles is classified as ahorror/science fiction novel• Bradbury craftily incorporates human feelinginto his writings, evoking emotion.
Scythe• What is a scythe?– “an implement used formowing (as grass) andcomposed of a longcurving blade fastenedat an angle to a longhandle” (MerriamWebster Dictionary)– First began use in the12th century as aneffective way of mowinggrain/corn
Drew Erickson• Main character• Established as a farmer in the secondparagraph by his “farmer hands”• His hands are mentioned again in paragraph 7and again in paragraph 10.– Could this be foreshadowing something?• Clearly Drew is a hard worker and clearly lifedoes not like him
First Encounter (Page 2 bottom)• Importance of the quote– What does it mean?– Notice how Bradbury foreshadows something tohappen later (last sentence of passage)
The Curious Crop (Page 3 center)• What is happening here?
Scythe Takes Over (Page 4 bottom)• Notice any repeated diction?• Notice Bradbury mentions Hell a few times.What could this mean?– Foreshadowing Erickson’s fate as the Grim Reaper
Page 5 – Sudden Realization• Erickson realizes he has killed people bycutting the grain• Is there any significance of Molly reading theBible to Drew?– I thought it was a way of purifying Drew andgetting rid of his sin as the Grim Reaper– Removing his “possession” by the Grim Reaper
Return of the Reaper (Page 8 top)• Importance of the first passage?• Notice the quote emblazoned on the scythereturns again, but is repeated twice, like amotto that Erickson must reap the souls to.
Scene of Fire (Page 10 center)• Why is this scene important?– Alludes to Hell• This will complete his fate as the Grim Reaper.
Erickson tries to defy fate• What happens to Erickson’s family?• Who was to blame? Why?
Fate of the Grim Reaper• What is the Grim Reaper causing? Name events.
End of Story• Erickson becomes obsessed with the scytheand it eventually controls his life.• What did you think about the ending?• Bradbury creates clues by using diction that isrepeated over and over.• Bradbury leaves an impression that the GrimReaper causes turmoil and who knows whenyour life will get cut?