This story was written in 1950 by a science fiction writer by the name of Ray Bradbury. World War II had just ended. The United States had dropped a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945, and Nagasaki, Japan three days later. Hundreds of thousands of people were killed either by the direct hit of the bomb or by the radiation caused by the bomb. It was foremost in people's minds. Tensions had arisen between the USSR and the United States, and people were concerned about a nuclear war.
This story gets its name from the poem by Sara Teasdale. It reflects that nature will continue on even after mankind has killed itself. It talks of robins, swallows, frog, wild plum trees, and soft rains that,
"And not one will know of the war, not one/ Will care at last when it is done/ Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree/ If mankind vanished suddenly. (lines 7-10)
Mankind has perished in this story. This is the only house left and
"At night, the ruined city gave off a radioactive glow which could be seen for miles." (pg 1)
The silhouettes on the blackened house show what the members of the family were doing at the time the bomb hit. Their bodies were disintegrated, but the silhouettes are an eerie reminder of their existence.
The house is filled with technology. The humans are almost robots themselves doing the same thing every day. The technology does not even know that they are not there. If it doesn't get an answer, it just goes back to its original function. If the man does not drive his car out of the garage, the garage door closes. If the woman does not pick out a poem to read, the computer chooses one for her. It is interesting that Bradbury was able to visualize many of the conveniences we have today. All that is left of the world is technology and nature. Eventually, nature takes over and destroys the technology with fire.