Unrequited Mystery in Bradbury’s the Last Night of the World

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Unrequited Mystery In Bradbury’s The Last Night of the World

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Ray Bradbury is one of the most creative writers to have ever lived. He has written a hoard of stories which are very entertaining more than someone would expect. In one of the stories, The Last Night of the World, he addresses an unrequited mystery of the end of the world via equivocal generalization and use of rhetorical questions that are left unanswered. Through the use of Descriptive styles in his writing, Ray can convey mysteries and emotions that are sophisticated to be understood by the reader. This essay will summarize and critically analyze the story The Last Night of the World to help the reader better comprehend the styles used in the story and how it relates to the real world

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Ray Bradbury in his story of “The Last Night of the World” addresses a rather infrequent subject. The story commences with a rather disturbing question, "What would you do if you knew that this was the last night of the world?" (Ray, p1). This question was posed by a husband to a wife in the process of revelation of what his dream had been like the previous night. The wife replied that she does not know since she had not given the question many thoughts. She then enquires if there would be an incidence of a hydrogen bomb or even an atomic bomb in the atmosphere but the husband told her that whatever she was inquisitive about was not the case (Bradbury, p1). All this took place as the husband was stirring his tea with black depths. According to Maya, the author could have used the black depths of the tea to symbolize the end of the world.

The husband better understands that this was the last night of the world due to a dream he had a night ago. It seemed so normal a dream, but it became more unusual when he realized that everybody in the office was talking about it and that everyone had such a dream. Surprisingly, everyone seemed to at peace with the situation making the atmosphere far more relaxed than usual.

When the husband went back home from work and spoke to the wife about it, the wife confesses that she too had the same dream but could not talk about it since she thought that it was normal. It became far more entertaining when she realized that even the other women in the neighborhood had the same dream and were talking about. She disqualifies the thought that it was the end of the world by assuming that maybe they have been watching the same shows in the television or even reading the same books which might have been the cause of such a dream (Bradbury, p2). After they addressed the situation further, they realized that it was serious than they had earlier thought about.

The couple then discussed what they should do now that this was their last night and the feeling they had about it. Surprisingly, they decided to have a normal night just like the other nights. They had an agreement that the children should not know about it thus they allowed them to continue playing as usual in the background rather than disturbing them with these odd stories (Bradbury, p1). Here, the author makes use of imagery to help provide a reader with a vivid experience. However, the couple struggled with the thoughts on which decision was the best to make between leaving the door open or closed on the eve of the last night for the children (Bradbury, p3). They were wondering how the children would want the door to be on their last night

They took the children to bed, as usual, said goodnight and proceeding to the kitchen. They sometimes had together washing utensils and playing a game which made the night seem usual just like the other nights. They were not prompted to do things urgently or indulge themselves in doing unusual or new things. After all this, the husband claimed that he was tired and the wife said that she was tired too. When they went to bed and kissed each other, the husband an opportunity to say to the wife that "We've been good for each other, anyway" (Ray, p4). Before they fell asleep, the wife exited the bed and ran to the kitchen to close the running sink. This seemed funny since if the world was ending, it made no difference if the sink was running or not. They both laughed at how funny this seemed to be.


The story begins with a rhetorical question "what would you do if you had one more night?" (Ray, p1) This question has far more reaching effects in the human life in the real world since every human can be torn between the things they would want to do if they realize the night they had was their last. This question is also common among adults to youths since most of the times; adults want to challenge the youths regarding various issues in life. The essence of such a question is to provoke the reader into thinking about the situation being addressed as well as similar issues. This story is short, but it can engage its reader immediately.

The couple had a conventional night that anyone could envision going about their businesses as usual despite the fear that the night could have been their last. The question posed by Ray, "What would you do if..." (Ray, p1) might have had its answer from the activities of this night since they chose to do nothing out of the ordinary. The typical night they had depicts the idea of lack of fear of death or end of the world. It also shows that they were happy with the life they had lived and did not fear to have their life terminated at that point. The couple faced the night with courage and elegance which was very estimable making an allowance for the state of affairs.

It is also funny that the kids were not included in the plans their parents had. This is because they never wanted to disturb them with the story. The reader is also left to wonder if the kids also had such a dream. The relationship between the couple and their children at this night can be discussed since one is left to wonder if the parents were not fair to the children by not letting them decide what they want their last night to be like. The lack of communication between the parents and their children in the story could symbolize the kind of relationship the two parties had all along throughout their life.

According to Maddison, the main theme of the story is lack of fear of death. The story is meant to shed light on how people should brave and courageous even when faced with death. The story leaves the reader with an out of the ordinary impression of strange doings. At the end of the story, the reader is left to wonder how he would retort to such a situation. The story also ends with a lot of suspense since we are never told whether this was the last night or not.

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