Analyze and comment on Bradbury's story "There Will Come Soft Rains."
Bradbury's story focuses on an automated house that has survived a holocaust. The life of the house continues even though no human occupants remain in—or anywhere near—it. The story functions as a cautionary tale: this is what the world will be like if humanity ceases to exist, so let us work to avoid a nuclear war or similar catastrophe that might wipe us out.
In this story, an eery stillness reigns over the empty house, and Bradbury illustrates the senselessness of building a sophisticated technology if we are going to use that same technology to destroy ourselves. Here, the house continues to function as if serving humans by preparing breakfast, sending mechanical mice out to clean, and reading a poem aloud, but the technology is futile without humans. By nightfall, the technology itself is failing, as a branch falls on the house and fire erupts. Without human intervention, technology is ultimately helpless against the forces of nature. Technology only makes sense as a servant of humankind.
As readers, we feel a sense of loss as the house functions without human occupants to give it meaning and direction—or to save it from destruction.
The story echos the Teasdale poem from which it gets its name and may be summed up in two lines from that poem:
Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree If mankind perished utterly.
There is a great analysis of this Ray Bradbury short story here on eNotes at the link below. Bradbury got the title from a poem of the same name by Sara Teasdale, which is also about an end-of-the-world scenario. In this short story, man has succeeded in destroying himself with nuclear weapons and all that is left behind are machines. Even the family dog cannot survive and dies of radiation poisoning. The themes are of man vs automation, death and fear and science vs nature. This story is from the collection Martian Chronicles in which several stories explore the same themes - man's capability to destroy himself with his own creations.