Create and outline a time line of the events in the house that occur in order to build a setting in the story "There will come soft rains.""There will come soft rains" by Ray Bradbury

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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  • It is the year 2026 and a house in California that is automated announces that it is August 4 and time to wake up.
  • As the house does everything, breakfast is made but there is no one to eat it. 
  • So, after a while, the untouched meal is cleared.
  • Outside automatic sprinklers come on as a charred neighborhood is revealed. There is a "radioactive glow" about the neighborhood that displays a silhouette of a man and woman who were doing yardwork and a boy and girl who have been throwing a ball--"five spots."
  • A dog, damaged from the nuclear bomb, covered with sores; whining at the house door, he is let it by the automated house that recognizes him.
  • Immediately, the robotic mice that clean the house are annoyed by the dead dog, and take it away, sweeping it into the incinerator that Bradbury describes "like an evil Baal," alluding to Satan's chief lieutenant in Milton's Paradise Lost.
  • Afternoon comes and the automated house continues its routine:  A table is set, drinks are poured, and the nursery transforms into a jungle scene.
  • As the stove prepares dinner, an automated voice recites Sara Teasdale's poem, "There Will Come Soft Rains"; this poem describes the ravages of war upon man, while at the same time redoutable nature prevails as "soft rains" shimmer and cleanse the earth.
  • Ironically, as the poem ends, a wind causes a bottle to spill; a fire ignites.  Despite the automatic faucets and mice that work to stop the fire, the house is razed, except for one wall.
  • With only "smoke and silence" remaining, a voice announces "August 5, 2026."

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