What is the function of Teasdale's poem in the story?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The function of Teasdale's poem is to illuminate a condition that the story echoes.  Teasdale's poem "tells of a soft rain that falls while nature circles, shimmers, and sings, amidst a war that neither birds nor frogs care about—even if all the people die."  This condition of being is reflected in Bradbury's story.  The house stands as a technological marvel.  Yet, its presence is in a nuclear winter setting, where destruction and death are the only constants.  

For Teasdale's poem, nature continues while the events of human beings are secondary.  In Bradbury's story, the house stands while human beings have become secondary as they have been exterminated.  The condition in Teasdale's poem and the state of being in Bradbury's story are ones in which human action is fundamentally reduced by the configuration in which they live.  The poem functions as a means to convey a reality of the world in which human action has been reduced to something far less than its original conception.  Like the poem, the story reconceptualizes what it means to be human in a complex and intricate manner, far from the defiant picture of self that is usually associated with being human.


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