The Sound Machine

The Sound Machine Literary Elements


Short story; psychological fiction.

Setting and Context

The story is set in a British garden shed and park in the mid-twentieth century; it was published four years after WWII.

Narrator and Point of View

The story is narrated by an unnamed third-person limited omniscient narrator; the point of view shifts between each of the three characters' perspectives.

Tone and Mood

The tone is matter-of-fact; the mood is excited, absurd, and threatening.

Protagonist and Antagonist

The protagonist of the story is Klausner; the antagonist is the doctor, who doubts Klausner's sanity.

Major Conflict

The major conflict in the story is that Klausner wishes to prove his theory that there are infinite high-pitched sounds inaudible to the human ear by using the sound machine he invented.


The story reaches its climax when the tree branch smashes Klausner's sound machine and ends his sound-detection experiment.


An instance of foreshadowing occurs when Klausner first explains his theory to the doctor: the doctor feels that there is an immeasurable distance between Klausner's mind and body, hinting at Klausner's coming break with reality.






Metonymy and Synecdoche


Klausner personifies roses, daisies, and trees when he seems to hear sounds of pain coming from them.