In the short story "There Will Come Soft Rains," what evidence suggests that the fire is personified?

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Because there are no human beings in this story—they have all been killed in a nuclear holocaust—Bradbury personifies the house and nature.

At the end of the story, Bradbury personifies the fire, a symbol of nature's power. He depicts it as a force stronger and smarter than the highly technological home. We learn that

the fire was clever. It had sent flames outside the house, up through the attic to the pumps there. An explosion!

Cleverness, described here as the ability to think strategically and plan a knock-out blow, is a trait with associated with human beings, not fires.

The fire is also described as "angry"; anger is an emotion we associate with humans.

The fire is connected thematically to the Teasdale poem which gives the story its title. In the poem, nature placidly and indifferently goes about its business whether humans are on the earth or not—it is shown as a force more quietly powerful than human technology. The fire is not quiet or indifferent, but it is more powerful than human technology (it destroys the house), and it is indifferent to the value humans place on the objects it destroys.

The personification of the fire also lends an energy and a personal quality to the end of the story that otherwise might not be there.

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Personification is a literary device in which an animal or inanimate object is given personal characteristics and human attributes. In this short story, Bradbury personifies fire by giving it human attributes as it gradually destroys the technologically advanced smart home. Bradbury personifies fire by describing the flashing flames as "ten billion angry sparks." By attributing the human quality of anger to inanimate sparks, Bradbury correctly utilizes personification.

Bradbury continues to personify fire by writing that it "fed upon Picassos and Matisses in the upper halls"; it also "lay in beds, stood in windows, changed the colors of drapes!" The inanimate fire is personified by having the ability to eat, lay down, stand, and change, which are all common human behaviors. Bradbury also utilizes personification by writing that the fire "backed off" and was "clever." Through personification, Bradbury gives the fire the ability to control the direction of its flames and to reason like a human being. Bradbury allows the audience to relate the actions of inanimate objects (or forces, like the fire) to our own emotions and experiences.

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According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, to personify something means “to conceive of or represent as a person or as having human qualities or powers.”  In the story, the house is personified throughout the whole story, and when the fire starts, it becomes a battle for survival between the fire and the house.

The way the author does this is through his use of verbs.  He utilizes human actions and attributes them to the fire.

“It (the fire) fed upon Picassos and Matisses...baking off the oily flesh…” (Bradbury 2).

Here, the fire is in a feeding frenzy and baking the contents of the paintings.

“Now the fire lay in beds, stood in windows, changed the colors of drapes” (Bradbury 2).

Now, the fire "lays" in beds, "stands" in windows, and "changes" the color of the drapes. Laying, standing, and changing are all human actions that Bradbury has given to the fire to personify it.

When the blind robots appear and fight the fire by shooting a green chemical at it, 

“The fire backed off, as even an elephant must at the sight of a dead snake" (Bradbury 2).

This shows hesitation on the part of the fire and concern for its survival. However, the final personification comes when the author gives the fire the ability to think, and it outmaneuvers the house. 

“But the fire was clever. It had sent flames outside the house, up through the attic to the pumps there. An explosion! The attic brain which directed the pumps was shattered….” (Bradbury 2).

After destroying the pumps,

"The fire rushed back into every closet and felt of the clothes hung there” (Bradbury 2). 

The fire is rushing and feeling. These are all terms that would be associated with a human being. Finally, the fire, which has systematically killed off the house, 

“….burst the house…. puffing out skirts of spark and smoke” (Bradbury 2).

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