What is the central conflict of "There Will Come Soft Rains" by Ray Bradbury?

The central conflict of "There Will Come Soft Rains" by Ray Bradbury is between nature and technology. For centuries, man has used technology as a way of controlling nature, of harnessing its power for his own needs. But in the wake of nuclear Armageddon, the tables have been turned and nature now reasserts her control over technology that is now, in the absence of any human beings, quite useless.

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On the broadest level, the main conflict of the story is human technology versus nature, but this can be understood more specifically as human pride coming into conflict with the natural world. The title of the story alludes to a Sara Teasdale poem called "There Will Come Soft Rains," which is also quoted by the house in the story. The poem highlights the central theme of the story: in a conflict between humankind and nature, nature will win. We are deceiving ourselves—we have an inflated sense of pride as a species—if we think that nature cares at all if we live or die. We have to adjust to the limits of the natural world, not vice versa.

This need to rein in technology is demonstrated, first, by the destruction of human society by a nuclear war that leaves the family the house serves dead. It is made clear a second time as the house goes through the motions of the day, trying to care for a family that no longer exists. When a fire finally breaks out in the house, no amount of...

(The entire section contains 5 answers and 1081 words.)

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