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Ray Bradbury
The Smile
Inword

There is nothing complicated about this story. It is a simple, straight-forward piece.

 

But the subject matter is disturbing.

 

Bradbury writes about a time when beauty matters no longer. Is he saying 'truth' matters no longer? Perhaps. But the sense of timeless beauty, of works of art that speak of the depths of the heart, is not destroyed completely as those in this story wish to do. We find that even the most remarkable evidence of survival is sometimes found and hidden away, expressing that truth and beauty continue and is appreciated in the most difficult circumstances.


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Bulletin board
Story

In the town square the queue had formed at five in the morning, while cocks were crowing far out in the rimed country and there were no fires. All about, among the ruined buildings, bits of mist had clung at first, but now with the new light of seven o'clock it was beginning to disperse. Down the road, in twos and threes, more people were gathering in for the day of marketing the day of festival.

The small bay stood immediately behind two men who had been talking loudly in the clear air, and all of the sounds they made seemed twice as loud because of the cold. The small boy stamped his feet and blew on his red, chapped hands, and looked up at the soiled gunny-sack clothing of the men, and down the long line of men and women ahead.

“Here, boy, what're you doing out so early?” said the man behind him.

Got my place in line, I have,“ said the boy.

Whyn't you run off, give your place to someone who appreciates?“

“Leave the boy alone,” said the man ahead, suddenly turning…



You can find this story in “100 of His Most Celebrated Tales”.

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Immersion
Eight first stories. 1
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The Women
The Fog Horn
The Smile
The Blue Bottle
The Rocket Man
The Scythe
The Haunting of the New
The Playground