Future Reckless in There Will Come Soft Rains


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Ray Bradbury’s “There Will Come Soft Rains,” tells a tale of how, in August of 2026 in California, a fully automated home goes about its routine of waking up the residents and making them food. The prepared food is never eaten seeing how residents are disintegrated. All that’s left are the charred silhouettes of a man and a woman doing yard work and a boy and girl throwing a ball. In the end, the house plays the woman’s favorite poem “There Will Come to Soft Rains,” which describes how once a man is destroyed nature will go on, as usual, a tree branch falls on the house, causing a fire that leaves only a single wall remaining. This destruction of the house and the description of the area around it hints that something drastic happened there. With the allusion to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the massive tragedy that followed.

Ray Bradbury’s short story, ‘There Will Come Soft Rains’, conveys the ultimate dangers of reckless, thoughtless development brought on by mankind.

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The radioactive glow surrounding the house sets the tone. A desolate house in the rubble of what once was a suburb carries on as if a normal day were to begin. The catastrophe that has occurred in Bradbury’s story shows the pointless use of dangerous weapons and tactics, especially with as much lethal power as nuclear weapons. Though the story never comes forth with an outright explanation for the lack of human interaction, the fate of the residents is confirmed with the description of the silhouettes plastered against the wall. Much like the severe heat brought on by the atomic explosion in Hiroshima, caused what were known as nuclear shadows: “When things that were soon to be vaporized blocked whatever what was behind them, they didn’t allow this UV color change to happen… outlines of people and objects incinerated in the bombing left haunting shadow imprints behind on such surfaces” (Whilst). A jutting reminder of lives ended too quickly that can never come back. No amount of grief can be spared to make such an action justified.

Leading on to more travesty there comes noon. A sign of life among the quiet home, a sore riddled shape of a dog. “His charred skin sloughed off and hung in long swathes exposing the muscles underneath. Like so many of the survivors, he made his way to the river to try to extinguish his burning flesh” (Sodei). This quote; an allusion to the billions of charred and scabbed victims, does its job of making the family dog stand out as a familiar illustration and iconic symbol of nature. The creature returns to the residence running upstairs immediately. Yelping at every door, realizing as everything has that there was only a dead quiet to be found. The heavy realization filling the whole house in a stiff position of finality. The poor creature succumbs to the desolate place. Eventually, he makes it to the kitchen and succumbs to its radiation illness. He lay there for a whole hour. What it must have felt like to the unwavering souls taken in by makeshift hospitals to best treat the radiation. Outside of Bradbury’s fable world pets remain a concept of as participants of a common family dynamic. In cases of extreme attachment, the family might have them cremated upon their deaths. In the story, however, the disposal of the carcass turns into a great deal less dignified; demonstrating and clarifying the house’s lack of remorse in its dislike for nature, disposing of it barring even the shallowest trace of emotion.

The line that was found in a work of Lindsley Cameron and Masao Miyoshi, “The enemy has begun to employ a new and most cruel bomb, the power of which to do damage is indeed incalculable, taking the toll of many innocent lives. Should we continue to fight, it would not only result in an ultimate collapse and obliterating of the Japanese nation, but it would lead to the total extinction of human civilization” (Cameron). Even looking back briefly the reader can reference this too the multiple victims found charred and fighting to just make it home. Tons of bodies were found and brought to be examined. Like the dog, some became violently ill. The side effects being sudden foaming from the mouth, vomiting, and falling into fits of seizures.

An argument can be made that it’s solely because of the technical advances and harmless unaware soldiers that this destruction was carried out. This is highly unlikely, as beautifully written by Virginia Nickels Osborne, “a savage continuum … a perpetual way of life in which small oases of peace provided intermittent relief ‘ (Osborne). Coming around to say that this savage game of tag was the result of fully cognizant men and women. Knowing full well there would be a tremendous effect on their enemies.

There Will Come Soft Rains is used by Ray Bradbury to jolt the readers into awareness. With the broad imagery of a post-apocalyptic Suburb in what we can assume is in America. Bradbury talks highly about his love for fantasy by developing an automated house with mechanical mice and sentient kitchenware and appliances. Not only does the house speak but it operates autonomously, notwithstanding the lack of mortal beings to serve. In his love for the horror, he places the residency alone. Amongst the rubble and uses his mastery of literature to issue these morbid descriptions of what befell everyone. In the house, he emphasizes the personality of the voice in the household. One that pushes his theme that human technology outpaced our humanity in a heartless and insensible way. More descriptive literature, paired with the works of a poet from post-WWI, helps Bradbury force toward his secondary them. That in the long run, all matters will be reclaimed naturally. Also, whilst now not as a tremendous a risk today, nuclear weapons comprise a force to be respected, and Bradbury’s There Will Come Soft Rains; nonetheless, convey the same advantageous message of warning. From the beginning of the story to the end, Bradbury uses specific word choices and descriptive techniques to give clues telling of humanity’s fate. No matter whether Over the course of history, mankind has only used atomic weapons in war twice due to the overwhelming devastation they cause. Ray Bradbury knew this, seeing as he lived through the development and heard of the use of the original atomic bombs. While glorified as a renowned science fiction author, Bradbury himself hated being classified as such. Science fiction holds some basis in science, whereas Bradbury prided himself in creating works of fantasy and horror. Bradbury continues his use of descriptive language to emphasize his point but also resorts to the use of the work of another writer to warn against mankind’s use of an apocalyptic weapon. At nine o’clock the house queries what poem the family would like to hear before bedtime.  

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