Kaleidoscope Literary Analysis
In Ray Bradbury’s short story entitled “Kaleidoscope”, are a variety of different characters. In the opening line, Bradbury says that a spaceship has been ripped up “with a giant can opener”. Many men are thrown from this ship in various different directions at thousands of miles per hour: each with their own different fate. One of the first characters introduced is a man named Hollis. Hollis is first brought into play after a man named Stone calls out to him.
Stone is a man filled with fear at the start of the story, and Hollis is the only one who can bring a sense of peace to his mind. It is revealed to us, early on, that each man in this story is destined for something different. The Captain is destined to hit the moon, Hollis for earth, but each of them falling in space. The men were scared, and for the most part, Hollis was the one to put them at ease.
“Oh, it’s a long way down… I don’t want to die, it’s a long way down,” said a voice through the walkies. This was a man named Stimson. Hollis attempts to talk sense into his frightened head; Stimson held to his fear and began to scream. Hollis was the one to make it stop: he killed Stimson. Now Lespere came into the picture.
Lespere was a man of strong words and a colourful world. He came from drinking, gambling, and had a wife on Mars and one of Venus. Hollis wished he could have had that. But now, falling in space, Hollis knew that none of those things Lespere had done in the past truly mattered. All the men from the ship would die in one way or another out in space. “From this outer edge of his life, looking back, there was only one remorse, and that was only that he wished to go on living. Did all dying people feel this way, as if they had never lived?” After silence and contemplation on Hollis’s part, he spoke: “It’s all over Lespere!”
Out from the depths of the cosmos, a voice rings out: Stone’s. He tells the men of the stars about a group of meteors. “I think I’m in the Myrmidone cluster that goes out past Mars and in toward Earth once every five years. I’m right in the middle. It’s like a big kaleidoscope. You get all kinds of colors and shapes and sizes. God, it’s beautiful, all that metal.” Stone’s character turns from being scared, to accepting his death and joins the stars. Hollis looks to the stars and saw nothing but a whirlpool of gems and colors. The friends said goodbye.
Each man left knew their time was limited; they said goodbye. Hollis – not wanting to die nor wanting to live – knew his fate was Earth. He knew that he would burn like a meteor when he hit the atmosphere, but did not know if he would be seen. As Hollis is falling to Earth, a boy looked up to him and thought of him as a shooting star. The boy’s mother looked up to this star and told him to make a wish. Even in death, Hollis was a ray of hope to others.