At the heart of the story’s irony is a poem by Sara Teasdale that the mechanical house chooses to read when the former lady of the house, Mrs. McClellan, is no longer there to express a preference. The title of the story comes from the first line of the poem: “There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground.” Teasdale goes on to create a poetic world in which swallows, robins, and frogs continue their singing, oblivious to humankind and its wars:
And not one will know of the war, not oneWill care at last when it is done.Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,If mankind perished utterly;And Spring herself, when she woke at dawnWould scarcely know that we were gone.
The irony exists in the way in which Bradbury’s fictional world in “There Will Come Soft Rains” parallels the imaginative world of Teasdale’s poem. By placing this poem in the middle of the story, just before the house starts to die, Bradbury draws attention to the role that nature plays in its death, but also to nature’s lack of concern for humanity. There is also the additional irony that this poem about nature’s lack of concern for human life is picked at random by a house designed to operate at the beck and call of people who are no longer even...
(The entire section is 535 words.)