Analysis of the Point of View in Ray Bradbury's "August 2002: Night Meeting"

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In Ray Bradbury’s “August 2002: Night Meeting”, two beings have a random encounter that leads them to dispute the existence and reality of the other. Tomás Gomez is an Earthling living on Mars on his way to a party. While taking a break from driving, Tomás encounters a Martian named Muhe Ca. The two are unable to communicate until Muhe Ca learns English by touching Tomás’ head. When Tomás tries to hand Muhe Ca a cup of coffee, their hands fall through each other “like mist”, and the other person appears translucent like a phantom. The two eventually realize they are living in separate dimensions of time. They attempt to prove their existence to one another, but one cannot see what the other sees in his respective time frame on Mars. Tomás is positive it is he who is living in the present, and that Muhe Ca’s people have long been extinct. Muhe Ca’s laughs at this ridiculous notion, and assures Tomás that not only are his people alive, but they are thriving. Muhe Ca has no recollection of earthlings landing on Mars and cannot see the rocket ships Tomás points to. Thomás cannot see the the thriving city and carnival lights Muhe Ca sees. In the end, the two agree to disagree on who is living in the future and who is living in the past. The author uses the third person dramatic point of view used primarily to tell the story. Bradbury briefly uses third person omniscient perspective when Thomás is driving through the desert and pondering the physical characteristics of “Time”, and later uses it at the very end when each character believes the encounter was just a strange dream or vision. The third person dramatic point of view is mostly used to describe the conversation between Muhe Ca and Tomás. It reveals the confusion when the two first make contact and then the awkward silence after Muhe Ca learns English. The description of Muhe Ca’s translucent phantom alien appearance shows how bizarre this encounter is to Tomás. The third person perspective is...