The Last Night of the World

by

Ray Bradbury

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The Woman / Wife Character Analysis

The woman is one of the story’s protagonists. She leads a quiet suburban life in 1969 with her husband and two daughters, all of whom go unnamed. Like her husband, the woman has an ominous dream about the end of the world. Even though she soon realizes that the other women in the neighborhood had the same exact dream, she outwardly considers it a coincidence. Deep down, however, the woman knows the dream is true, and that the end is fast approaching. Once she finally lets go of her fear and denial, the woman is able to talk openly about the end with her husband and come to terms with it. Like her husband, the woman remains faithful to her routine even in her final hours, as she spends the evening washing dishes, drinking coffee, and watching television. This shows how accepting one’s fate, though frightening, can actually lead to a deep sense of peace and understanding. However, the woman points out that spending the evening “like always” may be part of the reason the world is ending—people have been too concerned about their own lives to care about the terrible things happening on other parts of the globe.

The Woman / Wife Quotes in The Last Night of the World

The The Last Night of the World quotes below are all either spoken by The Woman / Wife or refer to The Woman / Wife. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Fear and Bravery Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Simon and Schuster edition of The Last Night of the World published in 1981.
The Last Night of the World Quotes

“What would you do if you knew that this was the last night of the world?”

“What would I do? You mean seriously?”

“Yes, seriously.”

“I don’t know. I hadn’t thought.”

“Well, better start thinking about it.”

Related Characters: The Man / Husband (speaker), The Woman / Wife (speaker)
Page Number: 136
Explanation and Analysis:

“Sometimes it frightens me, sometimes I’m not frightened at all but at peace. […] I dreamed that it was all going to be over, and a voice said it was; not any kind of voice I can remember, but a voice anyway, and it said things would stop here on Earth.”

Related Characters: The Man / Husband (speaker), The Woman / Wife
Page Number: 137
Explanation and Analysis:

“Where’s that spirit called self-preservation they talk so much about?”

“I don’t know. You don’t get too excited when you feel things are logical. This is logical. Nothing else but this could have happened from the way we’ve lived.”

Related Characters: The Man / Husband (speaker), The Woman / Wife
Page Number: 138
Explanation and Analysis:

“We haven’t been too bad, have we?”

“No, nor enormously good. I suppose that’s the trouble—we haven’t been very much of anything except us, while a big part of the world was busy being lots of quite awful things.”

Related Characters: The Man / Husband (speaker), The Woman / Wife (speaker)
Page Number: 138
Explanation and Analysis:

“Do you know, I won’t miss anything but you and the girls. I never liked cities or my work or anything except you three. I won’t miss a thing except perhaps the change in the weather, and a glass of ice water when it’s hot, and I might miss sleeping.”

Related Characters: The Man / Husband (speaker), The Woman / Wife, The Girls / Daughters
Page Number: 138
Explanation and Analysis:

“I wonder what everyone else will do now, this evening, for the next few hours.”

“Go to a show, listen to the radio, watch television, play cards, put the children to bed, go to bed themselves, like always.”

“In a way that’s something to be proud of—like always.”

Related Characters: The Man / Husband (speaker), The Woman / Wife (speaker)
Page Number: 139
Explanation and Analysis:

“Why do you suppose it’s tonight?”

“Because.”

“Why not some other night in the last century, or five centuries ago, or ten?”

“Maybe because it was never October 19, 1969, ever before in history, and now it is and that’s it; because this date means more than any other date ever meant; because it’s the year when things are as they are all over the world and that’s why it’s the end.”

Related Characters: The Man / Husband (speaker), The Woman / Wife (speaker)
Page Number: 139
Explanation and Analysis:

“There are bombers on their schedules both ways across the ocean tonight that’ll never see land.”

“That’s part of the reason why.”

Related Characters: The Man / Husband (speaker), The Woman / Wife (speaker)
Page Number: 139
Explanation and Analysis:

“I wonder […] If the door will be shut all the way, or if it’ll be left just a little ajar so some light comes in.”

“I wonder if the children know.”

“No, of course not.”

Related Characters: The Man / Husband (speaker), The Woman / Wife (speaker), The Girls / Daughters
Page Number: 139
Explanation and Analysis:

“I left the water running in the sink,” she said.

Something about this was so very funny that he had to laugh.

She laughed with him, knowing what it was that she had done that was funny.

Related Characters: The Man / Husband (speaker), The Woman / Wife (speaker)
Page Number: 140
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Woman / Wife Character Timeline in The Last Night of the World

The timeline below shows where the character The Woman / Wife appears in The Last Night of the World. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Last Night of the World
Denial and Acceptance Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
A man asks his wife the question, “What would you do if you knew that this was the last night... (full context)
Fear and Bravery Theme Icon
Denial and Acceptance Theme Icon
Self-Absorption vs. Global Awareness Theme Icon
The man tells his wife that she “better start thinking about it.” Shocked, the woman says that surely he doesn’t... (full context)
Fear and Bravery Theme Icon
Denial and Acceptance Theme Icon
The woman is confused, and the man says he’s not sure what to think either. He has... (full context)
Fear and Bravery Theme Icon
Denial and Acceptance Theme Icon
The woman asks her husband if he actually believes in the dream, and he asserts that he... (full context)
Fear and Bravery Theme Icon
Denial and Acceptance Theme Icon
The woman asks her husband if they “deserve” the end of the world, but he assures her... (full context)
Fear and Bravery Theme Icon
Denial and Acceptance Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
The woman reveals that her dream happened just the night before, and that she didn’t want to... (full context)
Fear and Bravery Theme Icon
Denial and Acceptance Theme Icon
Self-Absorption vs. Global Awareness Theme Icon
The man asks his wife if she’s scared, and she insists that she’s not, even though she “always thought” she... (full context)
Self-Absorption vs. Global Awareness Theme Icon
The man asks his wife if she thinks they’ve been “bad.” She says no, but they haven’t been “enormously good,”... (full context)
Fear and Bravery Theme Icon
Denial and Acceptance Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
...streets” once they knew for sure that the end of the world was approaching. The woman suggests that people “don’t scream about the real thing.” (full context)
Denial and Acceptance Theme Icon
Self-Absorption vs. Global Awareness Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
The man tells his wife that the only thing he’ll really miss is his family—and seasonal changes, drinking ice water... (full context)
Fear and Bravery Theme Icon
Denial and Acceptance Theme Icon
Self-Absorption vs. Global Awareness Theme Icon
The woman wonders how everyone else in the world will spend their last night. Her husband guesses... (full context)
Fear and Bravery Theme Icon
Denial and Acceptance Theme Icon
Self-Absorption vs. Global Awareness Theme Icon
Pouring another cup of coffee, the man asks his wife why she thinks the end of the world has to be tonight. She simply answers,... (full context)
Fear and Bravery Theme Icon
Denial and Acceptance Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Abruptly, the man asks his wife if they should wash the dishes now. The two do so and put them away... (full context)
Fear and Bravery Theme Icon
Denial and Acceptance Theme Icon
Self-Absorption vs. Global Awareness Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
Before they go to bed, the husband and wife listen to music, read the newspaper, and sit by the fireplace. They think about how... (full context)
Fear and Bravery Theme Icon
Denial and Acceptance Theme Icon
Self-Absorption vs. Global Awareness Theme Icon
...sheets feel “clean and nice,” and that they are both extremely tired. Moments later, the wife jumps out of bed and goes to the kitchen. When she returns, she explains to... (full context)
Fear and Bravery Theme Icon
Denial and Acceptance Theme Icon
Family Theme Icon
When their laughter dies down, the husband and wife lie in bed together, with “their hands clasped” and “their heads together.” After a quiet... (full context)