There Will Come Soft Rains by Ray Bradbury is short science fiction story. It was first published on May 6th, 1950. It was published on the Collier’s. Later in the year Bradbury complied his short stories into a book called The Martian Chronicles and There will Come Soft Rains was included in this. This story is a different
kind of science fiction and many adaptations came out from the year of its publication to as late as 2016. There were many radio productions, comic book versions, LP record dramas, animation films, musicals and even a puppetry adaptation. This is enough to prove that there is something special about the story. At the superficial level it is a science fiction but at a deeper level there is dark reality of the nuclear wars.
There Will Come Soft Rains by Ray Bradbury: About the Playwright
Ray Douglas Bradbury born on August 22nd 1920 went on to become one of the most celebrated write in the 20th and 21st century. He wrote many genres and they were mystery fiction, horror, fantasy and science fiction. His works fell under the speculative fiction category. The most famous novel was Fahrenheit 451 which was published on 1953. Many collections of stories were published in the 1950’s. Ray Bradbury received many awards including the prestigious Pulitzer Citation in 2007. He was wrote screenplays and was consulted for some screenplays and television scripts. When he died on June 5th 2012, the New York Times wrote, “The writer most responsible for bringing modern science fiction into the literary mainstream.” The original story was written in 1950 and the story was happening in 1985. But in later prints the year was changed to 2026.
The story begins with the house and ends with the house. It is seven o’ clock and the household wakes up. The kitchen is abuzz with activities. "Today is August 4, 2026," said a second voice from the kitchen ceiling, "in the city of Allendale, California” – this is repeated three times. Whose voice is it? It is not a human voice. It is a voice and that is all to it. There is no one listening to the voice too. But the activities in the house go on with clockwork precision. There are reminders to go to school and go to work. But there is no one actually going out. The weather outside changes and it begins to rain. There is a chime about it and an instruction to use a raincoat.
The house is then cleaned by metal and rubber mice. They go about working meticulously and jump into the burrows once the work is done. The house is clean in no time. But this house is very fragile. No one can touch it. If a bird sits on its window sill the sill crashes. Around twelve a dog arrives. The door recognises the dog and opens. It seems to be the dog of that house, a healthy one but now a weak one. Soon, in front of the kitchen door it dies. The cleaning warriors are back and they pull the dead dog and put it in the incinerator. Evening was for some fun and there were sounds of cards flying and music being played. Soon there were animals of all colours coming and having their short existence.
There Will Come Soft Rains by Ray Bradbury
Dinner was ready in a while but as ever no one to eat. Dishes were washed and then the beds were warmed. Then a voice called "Mrs. McClellan, which poem would you like this evening?" There was no reply and so the voice selected a random poem and read it out. In the poem alone there is mention of war. It said all would perish yet no one would ever know that the birds, animals and people existed. And then it was ten o’ clock and the house began to die. A branch falls and a fire is caught and the house collapses part by part. When the sun broke out there was just one wall and there was a voice which went over and over again, "Today is August 5, 2026, today is August 5, 2026, today is..."
There are no human characters but there are almost near human voices saying the time, the routine work and so on. There is mention of people like Mr. Featherstone, Ms Tiltia and Mrs McClellan. Other than these mention there are no characters in the story. However the house is the main character because it is very alive. There is not one boring moment in the house and everything is going as if all was normal. Another character can be said to be the fire. The writer has personified fire and he writes that the fire touches or the fire licks. “Now the fire lay in beds, stood in windows, changed the colors of drapes!” It is this character, fire that overwhelms the other character, the house, and comes out victorious, reducing the house to rubble and leaving a wall alone.
Settings, Themes and Motifs
As far as setting goes, the house is the only setting but there is a background on which the premise of the story is built and that is war and destruction. Ray Bradbury was a witness to the sufferings and holocaust of the World War II. He was also aware of the nuclear power struggle between countries of the world. So he has set the story after a holocaust in 2026 and there is no human life seen on the earth after that.
There Will Come Soft Rains by Ray Bradbury was not a fan of machines he has used only metal and rubber rats as his army of claners. The whole house works on a programmed schedule. This goes on irrespective of the fact that there are no people to monitor or follow them. The main theme of the story is that technology outpaces and outlives humanity even after a mass destruction. The poem that is heard is the poem actually written by Sara Teasdale. Though not the full poem, the lines of the poem “There will Come Soft Rains” feature in the story and that becomes the tile of this short story by Ray Bradbury.