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There Will Come Soft Rains

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Ray Bradbury’s short story There Will Come Soft Rains is set in a post nuclear extinction of mankind. The only thing that remained in the city was a self-sufficient house full of robots and other technology created to cater to the human occupants that no longer exist. The house carried on, day in and day out, as if the humans were still dwelling there. The house, with all of its technological advances had no idea it was no longer serving anyone. In this world technology is embraced to the point of thinking it embraces humans back. No matter how life-like things are created to be, they do not, and will not have emotional ties to mankind. In this short story Bradbury showed that technology is oblivious to human existence.

In this world of dystopia, Bradbury portrayed the house and the robots as life-like creatures. Bradbury uses personification to describe how each program in the house works. He used the phrase “The house was an altar with ten thousand attendants, big, small, servicing, attending, in choirs. But the gods had gone away, and the ritual of the religions continued senselessly, uselessly” to demonstrate how the house was filled with mindless robots programmed to cater to the humans which he terms as the gods (Bradbury 872). The ritual of religion he wrote is describing all of the tasks the house performs on a daily basis, such as making breakfast. Some of the robots were made to be animals, such as the cleaning mice.

Not only did these robots take the form of a living creature, Bradbury also described behavior traits nearly as emotions that are only seen in living things. He wrote that the cleaning mice robots were “angry” at the inconvenience of cleaning up the mud the living dog brought into the house (Bradbury 873). Robots do not get angry, as they do not have true emotions. The demonstration of anger in the mice would have to be preprogrammed into them. With the absence of the humans, the robots are the only characters that exist that can mimic emotions such as anger.

Outside of the home, the natural world carried on. The story mentioned the house would react to the wild animals, such as birds and foxes, as intruders. The house had clearly not been in the presence of many animals before. In the absence of mankind, wild animals no longer had boundaries constricting them to outside of the city. That is where the significance of the poem that was read to no one is implied. The poem itself alludes to the fact that the natural world would carry on and thrive without human existence. The only animal the seemed affected by the humans being gone was the dog, that was clearly the pet of the home since the house recognized the dog’s whine at the door. The story was not too specific as to why the dog died. It hinted towards starvation. This is a bit surprising that with a house so advanced it did not mention any program to give the dog food and water.

The story took a turn with the profound statement of “At ten o’clock the house began to die.” (Bradbury 874). At this point of the story, Bradbury had personified the house into a being of whose destruction was a death. As each recording burned up the writer described it as the voices died. Bradbury also described the controlling center for all of the programs the attic brain. The programs began to malfunction as the brain burned up. At the end of the story there was only one wall, with one recording left. The recording repeated itself endlessly such as a broken record would. With no one to cater to, and no one to even acknowledge the recording, all significance of the house was now gone. The house was created for the sole purpose of fulfilling the needs of the human occupants. With no human occupants, or even human existence, there house is as meaningless as the rubble that surrounds it.

Works Cited
Bradbury, Ray “There Will Come Soft Rains,” 871-876
Literature and Ourselves 6th ed. G.M Henderson, A. Higgins, Bill Day and S.S. Waller Pearson Education, Inc 2009 – Longman

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