Describe how the house is finally destroyed in "There Will Come Soft Rains."

The house is destroyed at the end of "There Will Come Soft Rains" when a tree branch breaks through the kitchen window, setting off a fire. The house attempts to fight the fire, but the fire spreads too quickly, overwhelming its defenses. In the end, the house collapses in on itself, leaving only one wall standing.

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As the previous educators have noted, the house is destroyed by a fire after a tree branch goes through the kitchen window, knocking a bottle of cleaning solvent onto the stovetop.

What is really interesting about this description is how Bradbury humanizes the process. The death of the house follows a pattern that is similar to the death of a human body. When the fire reaches the attic, for example, Bradbury describes how the pumps are “shattered” into pieces. The description is reminiscent of the way that a skull might break, with the bone smashing into pieces.

From the attic, the fire moves from room to room, beginning with the upstairs bedrooms. This is a methodical process, just as a fire would move down each section of the human body.

To really emphasize the comparison between the death of a house and the death of a body, Bradbury talks about how the house shudders and how its “bared skeleton” is impacted by the heat:

Its wire, its nerves revealed as if a surgeon had torn the skin off to let the red veins and capillaries quiver in the scalded air.

This medical metaphor is also suggestive of what happened to the former residents of the house who died in the nuclear blast. This is, therefore, a way of highlighting the horrors of nuclear war without explicitly describing the gory deaths of these people.

Returning to the house, when the fire is finally over, only one wall remains, much like the two-dimensional shapes of people that were left behind by the blast. Thus, Bradbury uses the demise of the house to warn us against the use of nuclear weapons.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on May 15, 2020
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At the end of Ray Bradbury's "There Will Come Soft Rains," the automated house is destroyed by a fire. This fire begins at night, when a tree branch shatters the kitchen window, breaking and spilling a bottle of cleaning solvent on the stove.

Immediately, the house is described fighting the fire to the best of its capabilities, but the fire spreads too rapidly, overwhelming its defenses. The fire is described moving "from room to room and then up the stairs." Eventually, it spreads upwards into the attic where it sets of an explosion. In the end, the house is shown collapsing inwards on itself:

The crash. The attic smashing into the kitchen and parlor. The parlor into cellar, cellar into sub-cellar. Deep freeze, armchair, film tapes, circuits, beds, and all like skeletons thrown in a cluttered mound down under.

Bradbury concludes this story with an image in which all that is left at the house is one wall still standing in the wreckage.

In this moment, this last remnant of human technology has been destroyed, just like the people who built it. If you were to blame the fire for the house's destruction, you might consider the destruction of the human species to be a factor in the demise as well. After all, part of the reason the house was destroyed was that, lacking the resources of civilization that could have assisted its defense, the house's defenses were overwhelmed. In a world where humanity remained a presence, this particular struggle between technology and a force of nature could have easily had a different result.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on May 15, 2020
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The house in this story dies because of a fire that it can't successfully put out. Readers are told that at ten o'clock the house began going through its final moments. The wind blowing outside the house is strong enough to knock down a tree branch, and the branch crashes through the kitchen window. For some reason, a bottle of cleaning solvent was close enough to the stove that the the tree branch and crashed window also knocked the bottle over. Cleaning solvent was splashed all over the stove and ignited. The house immediately springs into action, and begins trying to fight the growing fire.

"Fire!" screamed a voice. The house lights flashed, water pumps shot water from the ceilings.

The house does everything right. It shuts doors to minimize oxygen to the fire, and it sprays it with water; however, the blaze is simply too great. Too many windows have already been broken by the wind and heat. Eventually, the house runs its water supplies completely dry, and then there is simply very little hope for the house—yet, the house still continues to valiantly fight.

And then, reinforcements. From attic trapdoors, blind robot faces peered down with faucet mouths gushing green chemical.

Unfortunately, the fire is too "clever" for the house, and the house is eventually so burned and weakened that it collapses down on itself until nothing is left but a charred pile of rubble.

The crash. The attic smashing into kitchen and parlour. The parlour into cellar, cellar into sub-cellar. Deep freeze, armchair, film tapes, circuits, beds, and all like skeletons thrown in a cluttered mound deep under.

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On the simplest and most literal level, the house in "There Will Come Soft Rains" is finally destroyed by a fire caused by an accident. A wind knocked down a tree branch. It fell through a window and knocked over a bottle of cleaner. The contents fell on a stove, and a fire started.

The fire spread quickly. The house's automated systems fought the fire. They shut doors, to contain the fire and cut off its air supply...but windows were broken, and so the fire kept spreading. The system's robots sprayed it with water...but the house's reserves hadn't been refilled, and so they ran out, and the fire kept spreading. The robots sprayed chemicals inside the house, to extinguish the flames...but the fire had spread outside the house, and it kept spreading, until everything was reduced to a pile of ashes.

On a larger level, the house was destroyed by entropy. All systems break down. Disorder always spreads.

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