In the story, "There Will Come Soft Rains," what does the voice continue to do while the fire is burning?

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amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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When the fire begins, a voice appropriately screams "Fire!" The house voices continue shouting the word fire. The narrator notes that the "house tried to save itself." This begs the question: is the house shouting fire to alert the family (who are all now dead) or is it part of its own mechanism to save itself? 

As the fire continues to outmaneuver the hoses and robotic rats sent to put it out, the voices continue. "And the voices wailed, Fire, fire, run, run, like a tragic nursery rhyme, a dozen voices, high and low, like children dying in a forest, alone, alone." These voices faded and then ten more voices fade. 

Meanwhile, some of the house's other voices, oblivious to the fire, keep sounding off. There are the voice that announces the time, music playing, and the voice reading poetry. It is a cacophony of sound, the house's last chaotic effort to say "alive." The last voice left is heard repeating "Today is August 5, 2026, today is August 5, 2026, today is . . ." 

These voices have been programmed to function. But when the fire begins destroying the house, they sound off in efforts to save the house but soon begin to malfunction. It is fitting that the final voice simply announces the date. The reader is left with one notion: the future. It is a bleak future if we allow technology to run our lives. This is illustrated by the fact that technology (atomic war) is what lead to the family's deaths. 

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