The Last Night of the World (Bradbury)

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The Last Night of the World
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A couple calmly accepted the end of the world, spending their last evening doing ordinary things, after they and everyone else had the same prophetic dream.

A man and his wife were having a conversation over coffee one evening while their two daughters played nearby. The man asked his wife what she would do if she knew it was the last night of the world.

The Husband — father of two girls; calm, accepting, and loving; finds peace in the impending end.

He revealed that he had a dream four nights ago that the world was going to end, and a voice confirmed it. The next day at work, he found out that his colleague, Stan, had the same dream. As they walked around the office, they discovered that everyone else had the same dream too.

The man believed that the world would end sometime during the night and it would take twenty-four hours for it all to go. The couple sat quietly, sipping their coffee and discussing the situation. The wife admitted that she too had the same dream and that the women in their neighborhood had been talking about it.

The Wife — mother of two girls; shares her husband's calm acceptance and love; finds logic in the impending end.

They found it strange that there was nothing about it in the newspaper. The man asked his wife if she was afraid, to which she replied that she wasn't. She believed that this was a logical outcome of the way they had lived.

I always thought people would be screaming in the streets at a time like this.

They discussed how they wouldn't miss anything except each other and their daughters.

I won't miss anything but you and the girls. I never liked cities or my work or anything except you three.

They wondered what everyone else would do during their last few hours and concluded that they would probably carry on with their usual routines. They spent the evening washing dishes, putting their daughters to bed, and sitting by the fireplace. As the clock struck eleven-thirty, they thought about how everyone else had spent their last evening. They went to bed, laughing at the absurdity of the wife leaving the water running in the sink. They lay in bed, their hands clasped, their heads together, and wished each other good night.