What Is the Summary of “The Golden Kite, the Silver Wind”?

“The Golden Kite, the Silver Wind” by Ray Bradbury is a story about two villages in China that begin competing by constructing walls around each town. The story is meant to point out the effects of a nuclear arms race, when countries compete to develop more powerful nuclear weapons. Specifically, it was written to draw attention to the nuclear proliferation that occurred during the Cold War.

“The Golden Kite, the Silver Wind” is set in China. At the start of the story, the reader is introduced to two small villages that have been distant neighbors for some time. The villages do not interact with one another, although there has never been an explicit enmity between them. One day, a messenger tells the king of one village that the other village now has a wall built in the shape of a pig. Not to be outdone, the king orders his villagers to help construct a wall in the shape of a club, chosen because it is an item that can physically attack a pig.

The other village reacts by building a new wall, and the first village responds by again re-building their own wall. This continues until all of the villagers begin to starve to death. Because all of the inhabitants of both villages were consumed with the competition, no one had been available to work or farm the land. In the end, the two ailing kings agree to a truce.