I’ve got some mixed feelings on this one. On the one hand, it’s incredibly well written. But it’s also quite depressing,
First off, I should commend Bradbury’s writing. This story contains one of the most accurate depictions of a person with depression that I’ve ever seen. Which is, of course, a contributing factor in why the story is so depressing — someone who has suffered from depression reading about someone suffering from depression can be difficult. So, you know, potential trigger warning if you have depression.
There are some intense philosophical ideas being tossed around here too. Though they aren’t fully fleshed out they feel like there’s a lot more thought behind them than what we’re shown here. The philosophy in the story is based around the concept of object permanence, a psychological concept that develops in early childhood. A lack of object permanence is why babies are so amused by peek-a-boo and why they cry when their mother leaves the room; when they can’t see something, they think it ceases to exist. The main character in the story lacks object permanence, so anything he can’t see, he no longer believes exists.
It’s an odd concept, because he’s aware that this is the way he perceives the world, and it seems like he’s intellectually aware that people and things don’t just magically pop in and out of existence around you. Which is why I think it’s more of a philosophy than a developmental failure. I don’t think he actually lacks object permanence so much as chooses to ignore it.
Ultimately the story is well written. But it is strongly emotional, and it takes a bit of time to fully digest the philosophies and process the emotions.