reading 167 The Emperor did not rush out to see the flying machine when his servant first told hi...

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"The Flying Machine" (Description of Story)*

"The Flying Machine" is a story that considers the nature of peace and progress while subtly exploring the themes of personal and political responsibility. The story recounts the events of a single day and the difficult decision made by a fictional emperor in 5 th century China.

While the Emperor is enjoying the tranquility of the morning, a servant rushes in to tell him about a "miracle." After several attempts, the servant finally rouses the Emperor to look at the miracle in the sky: a man flying with wings fashioned from paper and bamboo. The emperor is stunned, then demands that the inventor be brought to him.

The Emperor decrees that the man and his invention be destroyed because the progress symbolized by the flying machine threatens both the Emperor's way of life and the well-being of his people. In order to illustrate his point to the inventor, the Emperor shows an invention of his own that mirrors the natural world: a wind-up box containing small trees and miniature flying birds. The inventor tries to convince the Emperor that his flying machine, like the Emperor's invention, is a thing of beauty. The Emperor, however, chooses to protect the peace of his dominion from the possibility of future invasion, and sacrifices the momentary beauty provided by the flying machine. The story ends with the Emperor enjoying the peaceful miniature world inside his wind-up box.

________________________________________

* We did not receive copyright approval to put the \n'+ actual text from the student booklet on the Website. The full text can be found in Ray Bradbury,

The Golden Apples of the Sun and Other Stories

. New York: Avon Books, 1997

The Emperor did not rush out to see the flying machine when his servant first told him about it because the Emperor

AnswerChoose the correct answer.Choose all that apply. Correct Partially correct Incorrect Don't Know

  1. A
    Correct Answer
    was too frail to run
  2. B
    Correct Answer
    had just awakened from a dream
  3. C
    Correct Answer
    wanted time to think about what it might mean
  4. D
    Correct Answer
    was testing the servant's loyalty to him
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