What imagery of destruction does Ray Bradbury use in the short story "There Will Come Soft Rains"?

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mercut1469 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"There Will Come Soft Rains" is Ray Bradbury's depiction of the aftermath of a nuclear attack and an automated house which survives despite the deaths of the humans who live there. Bradbury structures the first two-thirds of the story by the house's announcements of time. By eight-thirty the reader realizes that something is amiss as the prepared breakfast is not eaten and is "flushed" away. At ten o'clock we discover that the house is the only one left standing in the city. The description of the "city of rubble" is the first use of imagery evoking destruction, but is not the last.

Images of people who have been killed are blasted on the charcoaled outside wall, and the dog, who has survived the initial blast, succumbs to radioactivity as "its eyes turned to fire." In the last third of the story destruction reigns as the house catches on fire when a tree crashes through a window, spilling a flammable liquid on the hot stove.

Despite all its best efforts to avert calamity, the robotic house cannot quell the spreading conflagration. Windows break, flames race from room to room, the blaze destroys furnishings and, as the attic crashes into the kitchen, the house dies. Bradbury describes it like a "bared skeleton" as wires and the inner workings of the house are revealed by the intense heat. The house is finally portrayed as "heaped rubble and steam." 

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There Will Come Soft Rains

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