When did Bradbury write "There Will Come Soft Rains"?
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"There Will Come Soft Rains" originally appeared in the magazine Collier's in 1950, and was revised somewhat by Bradbury for publication as part of his book The Martian Chronicles. The story spoke from the American perspective during the 1950s, while World War II was still fresh in the public consciousness, and fear of worldwide nuclear war permeated most political and social conversation. The threat of Mutually Assured Destruction had already become commonly known, and the spread of nuclear weapons around the world caused many to fear their use, especially in light of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, both destroyed by the only military nuclear strikes in history. This fear is seen in popular entertainment of the time, including the film The Day the Earth Stood Still.
Bradbury, in his story, shows a world where nuclear war has devastated the population, leaving only automated machinery (such as in the house) and some animals unharmed.
The entire west face of the house was black, save for five places. Here the silhouette in paint of a man mowing a lawn. Here, as in a photograph, a woman bent to pick flowers. Still farther over, their images burned on wood in one titanic instant, a small boy, hands flung into the air; higher up, the image of a thrown ball, and opposite him a girl, hands raised to catch a ball which never came down.
(Bradbury, "There Will Come Soft Rains," nexuslearning.net)
This scene shows the classic (and ironic) "nuclear family," with a husband, wife, and boy and girl children. A poignant scene follows as the household dog, somehow still alive, tries to find its owners; the house only understands that it is a familiar animal and allows it in, only to have it die of madness brought on by despair and loneliness.
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