Bradbury’s story "There Will Come Soft Rains" includes a poem by Sara Teasdale with the same title. Do the poem and story have the same message? If not, in what way(s) do they differ?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The main message that the world could continue without humans is the same, but the messages of the story and poem differ slightly. The poem is about the destructive nature of humans, especially due to wars, and the fact that the world would be able to continue without people and be better off. The story focuses on technology, created by humans, as the destructive force.

The story takes place after some kind of apocalypse. The only remaining signs that people used to live there are their outlines on the side of the house, and that their dog is covered with sores and dying. The house is an automated smart house that meets humans’ every needs. It cooks, cleans, gives reminders, has a security system, and even tries to put out fires.

Until this day, how well the house had kept its peace. How carefully it had inquired, "Who goes there? What's the password?" and, getting no answer from lonely foxes and whining cats, it had shut up its windows and drawn shades in an old maidenly preoccupation with self-protection which bordered on a mechanical paranoia.

The house choosing Teasdale’s poem at a time when there are no humans left is ironic. The house is continuing as if the humans were there, trying to take care of them, not realizing there are no people left to take care of.

And not one will know of the war, not one

Will care at last when it is done.

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,

if mankind perished utterly.

Both the poem and the story have the message that nature is nature, and people cannot control it. The house is destroyed by a fire when a tree breaks a window, overturning a can of solvent onto the stove. Despite its technology, the house cannot put out the fire. It is as if nature is taking back the house.

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There Will Come Soft Rains

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