A Critical Analysis Of "There Will Come Soft Rains"

1117 words - 5 pages

Humans are dependent upon technology. “There Will Come Soft Rains” is a poetic and poignant 20th century short story written by Ray Bradbury. This short story subtly discusses the nature of arrogance and hubristic tendencies of humans, as well as the irony of our progress; the author is questioning the very notion of human progression. With the use of setting and character, the author conveys the theme of the story: technology is quickly advancing, and it could be harmful to humanity.
The story begins with the repeated sound of a clock saying “Today is August 4, 2026” (Bradbury, 1). The short story was written in 1950, and, at a basic level, Bradbury is predicting what will happen in the not-so-distant future, if humans continue with their technological ways. “There Will Come Soft Rains” demonstrates that the technological advances that could be used to make life easier for humans could also be misused and bring about mankind’s ultimate destruction. By making the house the focal point of the story, Bradbury shows that humans have made their technological knowledge work for them to make their daily lives orderly and carefree, merely for their own comfort. Before the nuclear explosion, the family that had lived in the house clearly had a life of comfort and ease. Ironically, the house itself pampered the family and had even done much of their thinking for them. Once the house, made by humans’ technological advances, started to function, it no longer needed humankind. The house ran itself so smoothly and orderly that it might have lived on longer if nature had not interfered and destroyed the house in the conclusion of the story. Jennifer Hicks states that, “the house is reduced to ‘smoke and silence,’ similar to the town which surrounds it” (Hicks, 1). This suggests that once technology becomes so advanced, it will no longer need us at all, and that nature will inevitably conquer our technology. Our technological progression could be detrimental to us if humans continue as they are.
The entire story focuses on a setting, a mechanical house that is continuing to function even after the humans are gone. The fact that the house is still functioning without humans proves that our technology will not end up depending on humanity, and that, ironically, people will be the ones depending on our technology. The date is August 4th, 2026 in Allendale, California; the story takes place in a “perfect” suburban neighborhood. The date that the short story takes place is of significance. The historic atomic bombing of Hiroshima took place on August 6th, 1945; the short story takes place just two days before the 81st anniversary. Humans have already done a hugely damaging move in the past using their technology, so it is evident that it could happen again in the future. The setting is inside a mechanical house, which presumably used to be one of many similar houses. The house is seemingly awake, and in its never ending capacity for servitude, is preparing...

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