There Will Come Soft Rains Questions and Answers
by Ray Bradbury

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In the poem "There Will Come Soft Rains" by Sara Teasdale, what is the basic summary and theme of that poem?

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In an age in which technology rules lives as people feel compelled to check iphones and blackberries, spend countless hours on the internet, etc. one of Bradbury's themes in "There Will Come Soft Rains" is extremely relevant:  Individual vs. Machine.  Human technology is able to run after its owners are destroyed; however, the machinery becomes empty and meaningless since no one is there to partake of its production.  For instance, the pancakes continue to run over.

Another theme here is Science vs. Nature. Despite all the automation of the house continuing after the inhabitants are dead, the non-productive machinery is incapable of overruling nature.  The fire consumes everything, proving that nature will outlast any human creation.  Man may be able to create technology that will outlast him, but it cannot stand up to the power of nature.

Ironically, it is the technology that indirectly causes its own destruction.  In the evening a wind comes up and spills a bottle set up by robotics.  The resulting fire consumes the house.  Mechanical mice and faucets attempt to stop the fire, but they are unable.  In the final irony, the poem "There Will Come Soft Rains" by Sara Teasdale--who killed herself in 1933--has just been recited.  This poem tells of a soft rain that falls while nature circles, shimmers, and sings in the midst of a war that neither birds or frogs care about--even if all the people die.

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"There will come soft rains," written by Sara Teasdale in 1920, shortly after the First World War, is a 12-line poem that describes the beauties of spring in its first six lines,

And frogs in the pool singing at night,
And wild plum trees in tremulous white;

and continues to remark on how indifferent all this beauty is to human beings, who could go extinct without affecting the general harmony:

And Spring herself when she woke at dawn
Would scarcely know that we were gone.

The theme of Teasdale's poem, echoed by Ray Bradbury's story of the same title where it is prominently cited, is that the human race is not as important in the general order of things as it thinks it is:

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,
If mankind perished utterly;

In fact, if "the war" that Teasdale casually refers to were to be nuclear, the utter destruction of mankind might well bring with it the end of "bird" and "tree" as well. Even without war, human activity is capable of enforcing vast changes upon nature.

And Spring herself when she woke at dawn
Would scarcely know that we were gone.

is not a couplet that retains much credibility with what we now know about global warming, for instance.

Teasdale's assertion of human insignificance has thus become out of date, even dangerous. It represents an older stream of environmentalist thought that met human arrogance with taunts of impotence rather than with a demand for greater responsibility.

Further Reading:

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shakolhamad | Student

The theme is:

Since the humans are gone, and the house continues to do its daily routines, such as the stove cooking and toaster toasting, and garage chimimg. This indicates that although the humans are gone, it will not be any different wit them being present. Basically the theme is Nature or humans. Nature wins because the house burns down although technology was controlling the house.

smerfmerf | Student

basically, the theme is that humans being a detriment to nature and how they would not be missed.

hope that helped! :)

silversinger | Student

A theme is the lesson learned from a work or the moral of a story. Also, there are theme parks such as Disney where there is a common theme of cartoon characters.