The Illustrated Man

In the 1950’s science fiction collection of stories The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury, there are two stories that express the main idea of revenge and they are The Other Foot and The Veldt. In The Other Foot, revenge is seen when Willie takes revenge on the white people because of how they treated his parents and the other black people on Earth. In The Veldt the children, Wendy and Peter, take revenge on their parents when they don’t let them take their rocket to New York, this revenge builds up until it takes over the children’s minds and they become unhealthily obsessed over it.

There are many differences between these two types of revenge that are important to the reader in many different ways. In The Other Foot revenge is sought by the black people. When they lived on earth the white people treated them very badly. They were forced to sit in the back of buses and theaters, they were shoe-shiners, slaves and many were even hanged for no real reason. When the black people all moved to Mars their lives were drastically changed as they could now live in peace and happiness. When the news spread of a white man coming to Mars in a rocket the Martians prepared themselves and their towns for the arrival.

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They gathered their weapons, ropes and set up the back of buses and theaters for white people, ready to get their revenge for how their ancestors had been treated. However when everyone saw the frail, old white man and listened to his story of Earths destruction they realized that there was actually no need for revenge. “Willie jerked his head and his mouth opened, Hattie saw the recognition in his dark eyes” the black people understood that the white people had already suffered enough during Earths extermination and so the situation was over, everybody was equal.

This theme of revenge is a big part of The Other Foot and is important to the reader because it teaches how revenge can be resolved in a fair and legitimate manner and also to always treat people how you would like to be treated because you never know when the shoe could be on the other foot. The idea of revenge in The Veldt is a very important part of the story. Wendy and Peter are the twin children of George and Lydia Hadley; they are very loved and spoilt children. When the parents begin to threaten to turn off the children’s nursery room the children decide to get revenge on their arents to fix the situation so they are able to keep the nursery. They devise a plan to create an African veldt in the nursery however they want it so badly that the room actually comes to life with real live animals. It is when George and Lydia entered the nursery that they became faced with their deaths, the giant lions killed them and the children experienced the sweet taste of revenge. Wendy and Peter Hadley responded to the situation by carrying on with their day, this is shown when David McLean arrives and Wendy asks “A cup to tea? This quote shows the reader that the children had no emotional attachment to their parents and this is important in showing how revenge is not always the best solution for everyone. Revenge can end in very bad ways and the idea of it in this short story shows its importance to the reader by giving a better understanding of the characters and what types of people they are. Also that revenge can result in long lasting bitter feelings and anger which does not affect anyone but the person harbouring the grudge.

It can also have a negative impact on your health. The Veldt and The Other Foot are very similar in both showing the major idea of revenge. Equally the revenge in these stories was both between two groups of people over things that they thought were very important to their lives. In The Veldt the revenge was needed because the children wanted to have the nursery room kept on, and in The Other Foot the revenge was concerning people’s rights and how the black people think they should have been treated better.

However there were differences in the way the characters went about getting revenge. Wendy and Peter devised their own little plan and kept it between themselves only, they did not act suspiciously towards their parents and created the African veldt when their parents were not paying attention. In The Other Foot Willie needed the help of all the Martians so he drove around town seeking other people who held grudges and collecting weapons.

He spread the word of his revenge and made it very obvious to the opposition, when Hattie asks Willie what he is doing, he shouts back “Roping off the whites! ” This quote expresses to the reader how badly Willie wanted revenge and how he got himself into such a state that he was completely focused on achieving that. His mind changed in the end and the revenge in The Other Foot was finished in a calm way but the ending of The Veldt was a surprise because it was not expected of the children to go as far as killing their own parents.

The idea of revenge is compared in many ways between the two stories, it is important that the reader notices these as they give more detail into the traits of the characters and what they set out to achieve. Revenge is a main idea present in the short stories The Veldt and The Other Foot written by Ray Bradbury. In The Veldt the revenge was aimed at the parents by their children because their most prized possession is being threatened, and The Other Foot shows revenge between two different races about their history together.

There are many similarities and differences between the short stories about the way the revenge was dealt out and the reason for it. From the readers perspective The Veldt was a better story to read because of the twist at the end that leads to a much unexpected death. The theme of revenge is important to the reader by giving more detail of the character traits, showing how revenge can be good or bad and by expressing to the reader what the characters are setting out to achieve.