In "There Comes Soft Rains" by Ray Bradbury, how does the setting affect the mood of the story?

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carol-davis eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ray Bradbury’s clever story “There Will Come Soft Rains” about a futuristic home run by automatons focuses on the emotional depravity in the world without human beings.  What is the point of the home that keeps on without anyone to serve, clean, or cook?  Yet, the house continues to function sans mankind.

The story without any human characters demonstrates the difference between man and a robotic world.  The atmosphere of the story seems initially sterile.

On the other hand, the technology which does not appear to need man creates a chilling atmosphere.  The clock says that it is time to wake up; but, the house is empty. The breakfast is made, yet there is no one to eat it. On a wall outside where the paint has all been burned off can be seen sillouettes of the family that was working in the yard when the nuclear bomb exploded.

It is not until the dog comes back to his home starving and dying from the lack of human connection that the mood becomes frighteningly devoid of emotions.  Sadly, the house will not help the dog and is only concerned with the removal of the dog’s dead body with no remorse for the dead pet.

Time influences the mood of the story.  The story begins with the automated clock starting the day with the house following a chronologically mandated order.  Obviously, the house and the humans who lived there created a world of order and organization.  Unfortunately despite the technological innovations, war has eradicated  humanity. The rest of the city is “rubble and ashes.”  

Still, the world of the robots goes on. The cleaning mice hurry about the house to be sure it is free of debris.  When the fire occurs, the sprinkler system attempts to prevent the house from burning up…this is the soft rain that falls. 

The wind blew. A falling tree bough crashed through the kitchen window. Cleaning solvent, bottled, shattered over the stove. The room was ablaze in an instant!

"Fire!" screamed a voice. The house lights flashed, water pumps shot water from the ceilings.The house tried to save itself. Doors sprang tightly shut, but the windows were broken by the heat and the wind blew and sucked upon the fire.

In the end, the mood of the story impacts the lesson that the author shares with his reader.  Humanity has been given the charge of the nature.  Man must care for the world.  If something goes wrong and man becomes extinct, the story depicts the monotonous world devoid of man. Time goes on with the automated clock continuing to give the time.

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There Will Come Soft Rains

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