1. It's often noted that science fiction is a reflection, not of the future, but the present in which it was written. Given that perspective, what can we say about the present in which Bradbury wrote his stories? How is it the same or different from our own present?
2. Examine Bradbury's attitude towards technology in two or three relevant stories, comparing how each story andles scientific development and its consequences.
3. What are the children of Bradbury's stories like? What does this tell us of Bradbury's view of childhood and the responsibilities of parenting?
4. Consider how the framing sequences work in relation to the rest of the stories? Do they succeed in making The
Illustrated Man a cohesive whole - in terms of plot, or theme, or mood? Why or why not?
5. Consider how faith works in several stories. Being specific, what exactly does faith entail in these stories? Is faith rewarded in these stories? Why or why not?
6. Certain stories deal with the privileged classes of a society, others deal with the less privileged or fringes of society.
Compare a story from each of these categories and consider how class concerns may influence the way these stories are told.
7. Consider sanity as a flexible state of mind - a way to cope with reality, a means to better deal with the stresses of modern life. Given that premise, how does sanity function in stories where characters aren't sure of what they're perceiving or experiencing? What is the sane response, and is it always the right response in these stories?
8. Using two or three stories, examine how Bradbury sometimes overturns expectations in his plots, providing a natural consequence of events in a way readers don't foresee. What tools does he use as a writer to set up one expectation, what tools does he use to provide something different but still consistent with the story? Does this always work? Why or why not?
9. What are the most dangerous things in Bradbury's stories? Enumerate a general list and consider what that tells us about his view of the world.
10. Bradbury often has a fine eye for the wondrous aspects hidden in everyday life. Consider how he uses this in several of his stories, drawing specific examples. What effect does it have on the reader, how does it influence our understanding of the stories?