illustration of a nature scene with a bird in the grass next to a puddle that shows a translucent reflection of a human

There Will Come Soft Rains

by Ray Bradbury

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How does the setting help develop the main character in the story "There Will Come Soft Rains" by Ray Bradbury?

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I'll start with the setting of this story in broad detail. The story takes place in Allendale, California. The year is 2026. That year doesn't sound all that far off right now, but Bradbury published the story 76 years before that date. In other words, the time setting of this story is nearly a century in the future. 76 years from right now would be 2092. With the pace of current technological growth in the world, I can barely fathom what homes might be like in that future.  

That's what Bradbury was going for with his setting. His setting helps sell the possibility and probability of his main character. The main character is the house itself. The house is so smart and self-sufficient that it is capable of operating completely on its own. It doesn't need humans. The house is capable of waking people up, making breakfast, and cleaning up. In fact, the house is even capable of disposing of dead bodies. As the fire begins in the house, readers get a sense that the house can feel. There is a frantic pace to the house's actions.  

The house shuddered, oak bone on bone, its bared skeleton cringing from 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. Help, help! Fire! Run, run!

The above quote nicely illustrates the frantic pace and fear of the house. What I also like about the above quote is how it describes the house in human biological terms. The house has bones and a skeleton. It has nerves, skin, veins, and capillaries. The house is alive. In order to sell that kind of concept to readers about a home being alive and intelligent, the story has to be set in the future. Readers can look at current technological innovations, and they can then imagine what those things might look like in the future. A living house with a personality that loves and fears makes sense in the future.

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