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

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sciftw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.

gbeatty eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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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There Will Come Soft Rains

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