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The Utterly Perfect Murder
Transcript of The Utterly Perfect Murder
By: Chris Riederer
On the night of Doug's forty-eighth birthday he had an incurable urge to right a wrong from his past. This life changing decision was that, in order to move on with his life, he would need to kill his childhood bully. This caused him to travel back to his hometown and was what lead up to his confrontation with Ralph Underhill. After all was done, he discovered that sometimes revenge doesn't always come in the form you expect.
The biggest theme of the story is that revenge may not always come in the form you expect.
Literary Device #1
Definition: Humor based on using words to suggest the opposite of their literal meaning.
Not only is the title of this story ironic, but also the events that occur within the story are ironic. For example, what ends up happening to both Doug and Ralph after years apart is quite amusing because of the fact that their roles seem to have flipped. This can be seen in the quote, "And I had not seen him since I was twelve.
Then, he had towered over me to pummel and beat and scream. Now he was a little old man.
I am five foot eleven.
I towered over him." (Bradbury 804).
Literary Device #2
Definition: A scene set in a time earlier than the other.
Thinking back, much of the story can be considered flashbacks. Doug constantly reflects on events of the past, such as when he recalls the time Ralph ruined one of his new outfits: "And I
one spring when I came to school in a new tweed knicker suit and Ralph knocking me down, rolling me in snow and fresh brown mud" (Bradbury 800).
Ray Bradbury created humor in the story by using irony because, in the end, Doug realized that Ralph needed him even more than Doug did causing Ralph to end up with a less fulfilling life.
Lying in his bed, reflecting on all the years that had passed him by, Doug came to the conclusion that he was still obsessively stuck on memories of his childhood and those who had caused him emotional and mental distress during his younger years. With the old pains fresh in his mind, Doug decided to end all of his troubles by finally getting his revenge on one of his most prominent bullies.
On his trip back to his hometown, Doug allowed the train to carry him back to a time when he was just a young boy, desperately looking for attention, but only receiving abuse. In Doug's reflections, he focuses specifically on Ralph, one of the largest antagonists in his life.
When Doug appeared at Ralph's doorstep, he discovered what time and stress had done to Ralph. In an extraordinary change of events, Doug had weathered much better in life than Ralph and Doug was able to finally put to rest all the pain and suffering that had reigned his life since he had left his hometown.
Throughout the story, Doug focuses his attentions on how he desired to murder Ralph. This is noticeable on the second page when Doug states, "And for this last thing, Ralph Underhill...for that I shall kill you tomorrow night" (Bradbury 802).
The reason the theme becomes what it does is after Doug comes face to face with his childhood bully, he changes his mind which is evident in the quote, "So this is what I came for? ...To see Ralph Underhill as he is in this hour" (Bradbury 804). Instead of killing the man who had tormented him through life, it was satisfying enough to see Ralph in his crippled and aged state when Doug himself was still healthy and strong.
Putting it All Together