Danger In Complacency: “August 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains”
When man’s reach exceeds his grasp, he will bring about his own destruction; this is an idea presented in many of Ray Bradbury’s works. Through irony and symbolism, the story indirectly details and warns us of the dangers of letting scientific progress run rampant. In Ray Bradbury’s “August 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains”, the author presents the idea that man’s complacency with technology will bring about the world’s destruction. Irony is one of the prevalent story elements that lends to the theme of the prose. The narrator states the house is “an altar with ten thousand attendants, big, small, servicing, attending, in choirs. But the gods had gone away, and the ritual of the religion continued senselessly, uselessly” (Bradbury 118). There is a tinge of sadness in the tone when the house is performing its tasks. Nobody is listening when the house announces the date “three times for memory’s sake” (117). The house is made up of various mechanical servants all designed to aid their creators in life, but it can do nothing to help them from the other, more destructive advancement of technology: the atomic bomb. As well, to support the feeling of remorse and regret over the complacency of humanity in regards to technology, the author adds a brief glimpse at life before the atomic war. On one ash-covered wall of the house, there are five silhouettes: a man mowing a lawn, a woman bending to pick flowers, and a boy and girl throwing a ball to each other (117). This image is a snapshot of the past; interspersed with calming imagery of sprinklers filling the “soft morning air” (117) with bright droplets of rain. The juxtaposition of the ruined, radioactively glowing city, and the silhouettes of a happy family in the yard symbolize the ignorant nature of the people who lived in the house. For the family, there is no warning, and no indication of danger that might have saved them from their...
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