What does the title of the poem "There Will Come Soft Rains" mean or symbolize?

The title of the poem "There Will Come Soft Rains" symbolizes the enduring, restorative power of the natural world, which will continue to thrive long after humans cease to exist.

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The title of Sara Teasdale's poem "There Will Come Soft Rains" symbolically represents the restorative power of nature and the natural environment's ability to purify itself over time. The soft rains allude to the springtime, which is a season of restoration and renewal. This natural restoration takes place following a devastating war, which destroys humanity and the remnants of civilization. In the poem, Teasdale illustrates the tranquil natural environment filled with birds and frogs, which are enjoying a peaceful spring morning without the presence of humans. After depicting the pleasant natural environment, Teasdale writes,

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

These two stanzas underscore the main message of the poem, which concerns nature's indifference to the lofty, futile plans of humans. According to Teasdale, nature and every living thing inhabiting the natural environment will continue to endure and thrive, long after humans cease to exist. Bradbury's short story reflects the same message of the poem. In the story, Bradbury depicts nature as an enduring, powerful force, which completely destroys the technologically advanced smart home. Similar to the poem, the story is set in the wake of a devastating war, but the only remnant of human life remaining is the automated home, which is eventually destroyed during a violent storm. At the end of the story, the natural environment is all that remains, which underscores the message that nature will endure, and no one will "know that we were gone."

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The story "There Will Come Soft Rains," by Ray Bradbury, opens in a house devoid of humans. As the story progresses, the location of the people for whom the house furiously works becomes a source of increasing tension. Breakfast is made and cleaned away. Robot mice clean all signs of dust. A dog comes in, dies, and is cleaned away within minutes. A nursery projects calming animal scenes. Evening baths are run.

And, still, there are no humans.

Finally, the house begins to recite a favorite poem of Mrs. McClellan, who is seemingly supposed to be home. The poem begins, "There will come soft rains," and this is where the title of the story originates.

In this poem, nature is seen as enduring force in the absence of humans. The poem makes a strong assertion in conclusion: Nature doesn't need humans in order to maintain itself. "Neither bird nor tree" requires humans in order to survive, and "Spring herself" would not notice if humans disappeared completely. Frogs would still "sing," seasons would still change, and rains would still fall.

This greatly explains what has happened to the humans who should live here. Their images are burned into their house, likely as a result of a nuclear war. They have disappeared from existence, and, just as the poem predicts, nature keeps moving forward. In fact, nature itself causes the fire which destroys the house, showing that in the end, the forces of nature are much more enduring than anything humankind can create.

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Sara Teasdale's poem is significant because it is selected, ironically, as a favorite of Mrs. McClellan's by the voice from the ceiling of the study. Now, after the destruction of the entire McClellan family, this poem is recited in the very meaningful manner that the last lines describe,

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;

For the McClellans, the poem has become prophetic. Certainly, the burned figure on the wall of the house of a woman who has bent down to pick flowers increases the ironic significance of the poem. For this charred figure is all that is left of Mrs. McClellan. Then, in this one "titanic instant," the prophetic properties of Sara Teasdale's poem become significant. Almost as if to underscore the prophecy of this poem and the indifference of nature to the destruction of mankind, the automation of the house goes awry, and the house catches on fire, completing the destruction of all things human. And, finally, there is really no one to "care at last when it is done."

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The title of Sara Teasdale’s poem “There Will Come Soft Rains” symbolizes the passage of time and renewal. It is a prediction of what is to come, and indicates the cycle of life. She identifies the poem as being set in war time. Despite the ravages of war, the seasons, nature, and life continue.

The spring will come again washing over the land, as life renews itself, without a care for whether mankind survives. Sara Teasdale writes of the swallows, robins, frogs, and flowers, which are all signs of the spring season. Despite the poem's melancholy tone, spring is symbolic of new life and hope. In this poem, however, the poet does not include human life in that hopefulness.

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree

If mankind perished utterly;

And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn,

Would scarcely know that we were gone.

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