‘The Last Night of the World’ is a short story by the American writer Ray Bradbury (1920-2012), published in Esquire magazine in February 1951 before being reprinted in his 1952 collection The Illustrated Man . In this story of just a few pages, a husband tells his wife that the world will end later that night. You can read ‘The Last Night of the World’ here , at the Esquire magazine website. ‘The Last Night of the World’ is a classic example of Bradbury’s talent for writing brief tales with a moral, using his clear, understated prose style and ear for dialogue to let the salient themes of his story come to the fore. Let’s explore some of those themes – but before we come to the analysis, let’s briefly summarise the ‘plot’ of the story. ‘The Last Night of the World’: plot summary The story begins one evening, with a husband asking his wife what she would do if she knew this was the last night of the world. He then reveals to her, as they drink coffee, that the world will indeed end later that night. As they talk, their two daughters are playing nearby. The wife wants to know how the world will end: war? No. A nuclear bomb? Also no. Germ warfare? Also no. Instead, the husband says he bases his belief that the world will end that night on a ‘feeling’ he has, based on a dream he first experienced four nights before. When […]

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