The Playground (Singles Classic) Kindle Edition
|Length: 23 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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In this version, Charles's wife is dead, Charles and his sister debate the playground issue, and Charles is not neurotic, but rather heroic in choosing to take his son's place in the hellish place.
Whatever the tricks of my memory may be, Bradbury succeeds in this version of the story in capturing the same feeling of dread inherent in ordinary places and events that I remember from almost 60 years ago. Somehow both Charles and to a lesser extent his son and his former neighbor seem entirely real to me; certainly the taunts of the kids and the feeling of the playground equipment has that same tactile reality.
It is well worth checking out the TV version of this short story, which has been extensively repeated on YouTube and elsewhere. William Shatner played Charles Underwood, perhaps a bit old for the role, but very effective. The TV version makes the presence of evil a bit more direct; one of the magical parts of the short story is the eerie sense created by the desk in the office with papers lying on top, but no one in the room -- "he's never there".
Bradbury is brilliant in making the playground come alive:
"At first there seemed absolutely nothing whatever to see. And then as he adjusted his attention outward from his usual interior monologue, the scene before him, a grey, blurred television image, came to a slow focus. Primarily, he was aware of dim voices, faint underwater cries emerging from a series of vague streaks and zigzag lines and shadows. Then, as if someone had kicked the machine, screams jumped at him in full throat, visions leaped clear. ... He weathered the first blast of sound, blinking. His nostrils took over when his eyes and ears retired in panic."
Bradbury makes the playground itself an evil character, as real as Charles or his son or his sister or his neighbor.
The story scared me 60 years ago; it scared me an hour ago.
Robert C. Ross
Do you remember what it was like to be a kid? The fears of children are varied and this novelette by Ray Bradbury crystallizes the hardship of children through the expressed fear of the Playground by Charlie, the parent, in a tight, disturbing, trippy story that will send a shiver up your spine.
"Are all playgrounds like this?" Underhill said.
"Some," replied the boy on the playground. "Maybe this is the only one like this. Maybe it's just how you look at it, Charlie. Things are what you want them to be."
And in this story, the Playground is hell, the place where children go to be bullied and beaten, and it is this fate, that of living a childhood of torment, that Charlie wants to save his son from experiencing.
The bottom line: Mr. Bradbury takes the traditional viewpoint--that childhood is the best time of our lives--and flips this notion on its head, holding a mirror to the reader that says, "No, it isn't! Here's why!" This was my first Ray Bradbury story and it won't be the last.
Most recent customer reviews
Not as good as most of his work like wicked this way comes or I sing the body rlectric