There Will Come Soft Rains Essay

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"There Will Come Soft Rains" is a short story by science fiction author Ray Bradbury. The story is about a high-technology smart house in a post-human world. Due to a nuclear war, the inhabitants of the home have perished; only their silhouettes are left, etched into the burned outer walls. The intelligent house, unaware of their deaths, continues to serve the absent people. Throughout the story, which spans a day, the house makes breakfast, disposes of it uneaten, and continues with other domestic tasks. Though sensitive to time and even to the weather, the house fails to register the absence of its owners. Only one living thing makes an appearance in the story: the family dog. Starved and sick, it makes its way back to the house only to die; its corpse is then swiftly removed by the house's automated cleaning robots. In the evening, the house reads the poem "There Will Come Soft Rains" by Sara Teasdale, underlining the premise of the story: that man, despite all of his achievements, will be forgotten the second he is gone. In the end the house catches on fire when a tree branch falls through a window and smashes into bottled cleaning solvents, which shatter and spill onto the stove, catching fire. Though the house attempts to save itself with water and chemical extinguishers, its years of meaningless service have left it understocked for emergencies and it quickly succumbs to the blaze. The recorded voice of the house persists, tolling out the date over and over again. The irony of the story is that as smart as the house is supposed to be, it never realizes that the family it cared for is dead and gone. It points up the flaws of technology and reminds the reader that neither human beings nor their inventions will last forever.
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