Zero Hour

by

Ray Bradbury

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Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Simon and Schuster edition of Zero Hour published in 1949.
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“Zero Hour” Quotes

Oh, it was to be so jolly! What a game! Such excitement they hadn’t known in years. The children catapulted this way and that across the green lawns, shouting at each other, holding hands, flying in circles, climbing trees, laughing. Overhead the rockets flew, and beetle cars whispered by on the streets, but the children played on. Such fun, such tremulous joy, such tumbling and hearty screaming.

Page Number: 254
Explanation and Analysis:

It was an interesting fact that this fury and bustle occurred only among the younger children. The older ones, those ten years and more, disdained the affair and marched scornfully off on hikes or played a more dignified version of hide-and seek on their own. […] The adult civilization passed and repassed the busy youngsters, jealous of the fierce energy of the wild tots, tolerantly amused at their flourishings, longing to join in themselves.

Related Characters: Mink Morris
Page Number: 255
Explanation and Analysis:

“I wanna play,” said Joseph.

“Can’t!” said Mink.

“Why not?”

“You’d just make fun of us.”

“Honest, I wouldn’t.”

“No. We know you. Go away or we’ll kick you.”

[…]

Joseph showed reluctance and a certain wistfulness. “I want to play,” he said.

“You’re old,” said Mink firmly.

“Not that old,” said Joe sensibly.

“You’d only laugh and spoil the Invasion.”

Related Characters: Mink Morris (speaker), Joseph Connors (speaker), Drill
Page Number: 256
Explanation and Analysis:

The streets were lined with good green and peaceful trees. Only the wind made a conflict across the city, across the country, across the continent. […] There was the universal, quiet conceit and easiness of men accustomed to peace, quite certain there would never be trouble again. Arm in arm, men all over earth were a united front. The perfect weapons were held in equal trust by all nations. A situation of incredibly beautiful balance had been brought about. There were no traitors among men, no unhappy ones, no disgruntled ones; therefore the world was based upon a stable ground. Sunlight illumined half the world and the trees drowsed in a tide of warm air.

Page Number: 256
Explanation and Analysis:

Mink talked earnestly to someone near the rosebush—though there was no one there.

These odd children.

Related Characters: Mrs. Mary Morris (speaker), Mink Morris, Drill
Related Symbols: The Rosebush
Page Number: 256-257
Explanation and Analysis:

Mink rebelled. “You’re laughing! You’ll kill Drill and everybody.”

Related Characters: Mink Morris (speaker), Mrs. Mary Morris, Drill
Page Number: 258
Explanation and Analysis:

“They couldn’t find a way to attack, Mom. Drill says—he says in order to make a good fight you got to have a new way of surprising people. That way you win. And he says also you got to have help from your enemy. […] And they couldn’t find a way to surprise Earth or get help. […] Until, one day,” whispered Mink melodramatically, “they thought of children! […] And they thought of how grownups are so busy they never look under rosebushes or on lawns!”

Related Characters: Mink Morris (speaker), Mrs. Mary Morris, Drill
Related Symbols: The Rosebush
Page Number: 259
Explanation and Analysis:

“And there’s something about kids under nine and imagination. It’s real funny to hear Drill talk.”

Mrs. Morris was tired. “Well, it must be funny. You’re keeping Drill waiting now. It’s getting late in the day and, if you want to have your Invasion before your supper bath, you’d better jump.”

“Drill says I won’t have to take baths […] He told all the kids that. No more baths. And we can stay up till ten o’clock and go to two televisor shows on Saturday ‘stead of one!”

Related Characters: Mrs. Mary Morris (speaker), Mink Morris (speaker), Drill
Page Number: 260
Explanation and Analysis:

“We’re having trouble with guys like Pete Britz and Dale Jerrick. They’re growing up. They make fun. They’re worse than parents. They just won’t believe in Drill. They’re so snooty, ‘cause they’re growing up. You’d think they’d know better. They were little only a coupla years ago. I hate them worse. We’ll kill them first.”

“Your father and I last?”

“Drill says you’re dangerous. Know why? ‘Cause you don’t believe in Martians! They’re going to let us run the world. Well, not just us, but the kids over in the next block, too. I might be queen.”

Related Characters: Mrs. Mary Morris (speaker), Mink Morris (speaker), Drill, Mr. Henry Morris, Pete Britz, Dale Jerrick
Page Number: 260
Explanation and Analysis:

“Mink, was that Peggy Ann crying?”

Mink was bent over in the yard, near the rosebush.

“Yeah. She’s a scarebaby. We won’t let her play, now. She’s getting too old to play. I guess she grew up all of a sudden.”

Related Characters: Mrs. Mary Morris (speaker), Mink Morris (speaker), Drill, Peggy Ann
Related Symbols: The Rosebush
Page Number: 262
Explanation and Analysis:

She was babbling wild stuff now. It came out of her. All the subconscious suspicion and fear that had gathered secretly all afternoon and fermented like a wine in her. All the little revelations and knowledges and sense that had bothered her all day and which she had logically and carefully and sensibly rejected and censored. Now it exploded in her and shook her to bits.

Related Symbols: The Attic
Page Number: 265
Explanation and Analysis:
No matches.