Preventing Futures: Ray Bradbury and the Philosophy of Progress
Keesey, Kendyl Elizabeth
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Arts
Vincent M Colapietro, Thesis Supervisor Lisa Ruth Sternlieb, Honors Advisor Dr. Richard Matthew Doyle, Faculty Reader
Ray Bradbury Philosophy Progress Philosophy of History The Illustrated Man Martian Chronicles World War II
History, philosophy, and literature are closely related, and they often respond to each other. Historical events frequently prompt changes in both philosophy and in literary style. Whether or not these changes themselves form a pattern of progress according to a historical narrative is open to question, a question that this thesis takes up through literary texts This thesis will focus primarily on two topics: the idea of progress and the work of Ray Bradbury. The very idea of progress-or the idea that humankind has and will continue to improve indefinitely- emerged as the result of a specific set of historical circumstances and persisted until World War II. Afterwards, there was a fundamental attitude shift away from this idea and toward a distrust of innovation and progress. In this thesis, I will show that a similar philosophical arc takes place in the work of Ray Bradbury; his ideologies shift as a result of World War II in a similar way to many philosophers at the time. To what extent can Bradbury’s ideas actually influence this type of progress? Is this shift in Bradbury’s ideology an attempt at progress in itself?