How does Ray Bradbury portray technology in the story "There Will Come Soft Rains?"
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The technology in the story is actually presented as the main character, in the form of the automated house. Because all humans have been killed, the house becomes the only being (other than animals) left behind. Yes, it does perform its continued tasks without realizing there are no people, but Bradbury uses abundant figurative language throughout the story to bring the house to life. The continued use of personification to describe the house and its activities connects it to the absent people, imbuing it with humanity of its own. So although the technology is itself unfeeling, and eventually destroyed by nature, the audience is brought to feel sympathy for this essentially useless thing that humans have created and abandoned (through their own self-destruction).
For instance, Bradbury describes the house as having "nerves" that were "revealed as if a surgeon had torn the skin off to let the red veins and capillaries quiver in the scalded air." He is comparing it to a living organism, one that is badly damaged. This simile not only demonstrates Bradbury's incredibly vivid style, but also connects the house to our own flesh and blood. By describing the house in human terms, the author hopes the reader will identify with it, and thus feel empathy for the idea that it is the last working object on earth. It has lost its purpose—to serve others— because the others are no longer there. In this way, Bradbury is able to evoke emotion in the reader, the mark of a successful narrative. Thus, although there are no humans within the story itself, the audience continues to see the effects of their presence long after they're gone.
The title of this well-known story comes from a poem by Sara Teasdale in which nature is depicted as indifferent to mankind's absence after its self-destruction. Bradbury's story has a similar theme. In it, technology, in the form of an automated house, is portrayed as mindless and soulless, continuing to perform its many functions for the humans who created it but are no longer there.
Eventually, the house (technology) is destroyed by fire (nature). The reader is left to believe that Bradbury agrees with Teasdale that "Spring herself, when she woke at dawn Would scarcely know that we were gone."
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