Ray Bradbury’s The Playground

The Playground by Ray Bradbury is one of those short stories that I would really love to subject to some serious analysis. I could just really play with the concept of age, regression, evil, and life stages. This short story could be looked at through a psychoanalytical lens, Marxist lens, and/or sociological perspective. In the story, the main character grapples with allowing his son to play in the community playground. Instead, he finds himself changed back into a younger version of himself.

“Why do children insist on making life horrible for each other? Oh, the continual torture. He heard himself sigh with immense relief.”

The concept of evil becomes a huge theme in the short story. Like the Christian/Catholic doctrine, it has something to do with knowing. Yet, in this Bradbury piece, the knowing is not an inherit belonging of God. It is a knowing of evil. It really does open the conversation, doesn’t it? When we know that innocents that have been touched by evil know evil but are still just innocents. What of that isolation? Do we relegate them to the playground forever? Trapped in that sand box forever? Read it; it’s interesting.

“I can’t tell you outright,” said the boy. “It has to do with the Playground. Any place where there’s lots of evil, that makes power. You can feel it, can’t you.”

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