In Ray Bradbury's "There Will Come Soft Rains" how do we analyze his use of imagery?
What you have identified is the importance of setting and the imagery that is used to describe it in this important dystopian story that is almost unique for having no actual characters whatsoever. I will have a look at the first opening paragraph to analyse the imagery and see how Bradbury uses setting to convey his message.
The story starts unforgettably by presenting us with a future world which is supremely technologically advanced:
In the living room the voice-clock sang, Tick-tock, seven o'clock, time to get up, time to get up, seven o'clock! as if it were afraid that nobody would. The mornign house lay empty. The clock ticked on, repeating and repeating its sounds into the emptiness. Seven-nine, breakfast time, seven-nine!
In the kitchen the breakfast stove gave a hissing sigh and ejected from its warm interior eight pieces of perfectly browned toast, eight eggs sunnyside up, sixteen slices of bacon, two coffees, and two cool glasses of milk.
Clearly the extent to which technology has advanced is incredibly impressive - literally there are robots to do everything for you! However, as you read the rest of the story you begin to realise what Bradbury is trying to aim at. With no human characters, this story is an ironic reflection on the strengths and weaknesses of human nature. It is also a warning about the limits and dangers of technology. The same technical wizardry that enables people of the future to create a fully automated house is also responsible for the creation of the nuclear weapons that destroy the human race. What use is all our cleverness and ingenuity at having created a machine to make our breakfast for us, Bradbury seems to ask, without the wisdom to accept our own vulnerable position in the universe?