“A Little Journey” by Ray Bradbury Summary

A Little Journey Ray Bradbury Summary
“A Little Journey” Summary

“A Little Journey” is a short story by Ray Bradbury that can be found in the huge collection Bradbury Stories: 100 of His Most Celebrated Tales. It’s about an elderly lady, Mrs. Bellowes, a woman with a history of following disappointing spiritual gurus, who has gone to Mars on yet another attempt at finding God. This time, it’s Mr. Thirkell’s rocket to heaven. Here’s a summary of “A Little Journey”.

“A Little Journey” Summary

Mrs. Bellowes is very old and Mr. Thirkell is taking her to see God in his rocket. Mrs. Bellowes has been involved with other groups promising various spiritual rewards. Her faith wasn’t shaken even when their leaders where arrested. She’s been at Mr. Thirkell’s Restorium on Mars for the last week, and it’s almost time to launch.

Mrs. Bellowes is having a few doubts—her room isn’t as nice as advertised, the swimming pool is unimpressive and there’s a stale smell. Entering the auditorium, she sees a crowd of elderly women like her, all waiting for Mr. Thirkell. The velvet curtains part and Mr. Thirkell appears, looking serene but also with the air of a cheap showman. Mrs. Bellowes clings to her belief that everything will work out this time.

Mr. Thirkell addresses the crowd. There will be a slight delay. Due to a legal difficulty, they have to wait another week. There are protests from the women, some of whom have already been waiting a month. Plus, it costs twenty dollars a day.

Mrs. Bellowes speaks for the group. They want to see the rocket now. The old women crowd around Mr. Thirkell and grab hold of him. They usher him through the back of the stage and into a gymnasium. They see the rocket—it’s battered, damaged, rusty and dirty. The women are upset at seeing the junk they’ve paid good money for.

The crows surrounds Mr. Thirkell so he can’t run off. They cry and mill around for a few minutes as they process what’s happened. Mrs. Bellowes speaks up. She doesn’t have the money to go back to Earth and doesn’t want to admit to the authorities that she’s been conned. They’re all old and there isn’t anything on Earth or Mars for them. They should take a chance and make the trip anyway.

Mr. Thirkell protests that he doesn’t know anything about space and God’s not out there anyway. It’s all been a fake. Mrs. Bellowes knows they’ve been fools, but it was a nice thought that they wanted to believe.

She orders Mr. Thirkell to be the navigator. The crowd presses him into the ship and straps him into the chair. The old women put on their oxygen helmets. Mr. Thirkell wants them to reconsider but they insist he launch the rocket. It takes off with a tremendous noise and terrible burning smell, leaving a trail of fire behind it.

While Mr. Thirkell sadly says the ship won’t make it, it explodes. About a hundred old ladies, including Mrs. Bellowes, are thrown ahead at the same speed as the rocket. Mr. Thirkell was sent out the other side and is screaming as he heads in the direction of the Sun. Although moving at fifty thousand miles an hour, Mrs. Bellowes doesn’t really feel it.

Despite the trickery and faulty rocket, the women are headed for the Lord after all. Faintly, Mrs. Bellowes can see His mighty golden hand reaching out to her. Mrs. Bellowes introduces herself.

I hope this summary of “A Little Journey” by Ray Bradbury was helpful.