Bradbury of the Month – October: The Golden Kite, The Silver Wind

It’s already October.  It’s hard to believe that after this post there are only two more editions of “Bradbury of the Month”.

This time around, I read Ray Bradbury’s short story “The Golden Kite, The Silver Wind”. Similar to “The Flying Machine”, this story is also written as an Asian fable.  It revolves around two cities back in ancient times when cities had walls built around them.

One city is bothered my the other city’s wall because it’s in the shape of an orange (I presume that would be round).  In an effort to one-up the “orange” city, the other one builds their wall in the shape of a pig – because a pig can eat an orange. This results in the “orange” city building a wall in the shape of a club – because a club can beat a pig. Well, it probably would not surprise anyone at this point that this goes on and on and on and on and on. It’s a sort of fairytale version of an arms race.

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Of course, these are only walls in different shapes. It’s not as though there is an actual pig to eat an actual orange – or that any of the other shapes are real. They are only symbols and Bradbury has an interesting take on symbols:

Life was full of symbols and omens. Demons lurked everywhere, Death swam in the wetness of an eye, the turn of a gull’s wing meant rain, a fan held so, the tilt of a roof, and, yes, even a city wall was of immense importance.

While this story has some fairytale traits, it ends on a positive note (unlike most original fairytales). The title gives a clue as to the amicable ending.

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3 responses to “Bradbury of the Month – October: The Golden Kite, The Silver Wind

  1. I used to teach this story, it’s in my 7th graders literature book which has a mini-unit on Bradbury. It’s a decent enough fable, but like many fables I guess, I bit simplistic. As much as I hate to admit it, the arms race worked, in that it kept both the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. from launching nuclear missiles at each other. Anyway, the other Bradbury stories in the unit, Dark They Were and Golden Eyed and The Veldt were much better. He’s at his best when’s a little less obvious in his moral.

    • I absolutely agree with you. I’m going to try and find the other stories you mentioned and use them (well, two of them) for November and December. Thanks for the recommendations!

  2. Pingback: Deal Me In – Week 42 & 43 Wrap Up | Bibliophilopolis

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