What literary devices are used in "There Will Come Soft Rains"?

The most prominent literary device "There Will Come Soft Rains" is personification, while other literary devices such as onomatopoeia and simile heighten the reader's ability to see the house in motion and better comprehend its eventual destruction.

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One prominent literary device that Bradbury uses in “There Will Come Soft Rains” is symbolism. For example, consider how the dog who dies from radiation poisoning was once “huge and fleshy” and is now boney “and covered with sores.” This one dog’s rapid, grotesque death symbolizes the devastating impacts nuclear warfare has on living things.

The house is also a symbol of man-made machines, and how they are unable to replicate human emotions. Consider how the dog is clearly hungry and sickly and how the house has the ability to care for it. The house was programmed to make food for humans, but it is unable to change its program and feed the dog. The house also rapidly cleans up after the dog and disposes of it. These actions are efficient, but they are void of the compassion and respect that humans express for deceased creatures. In this way, the house symbolizes technology’s inability to replace human life. In addition, recall how the fire destroys the house in the end. This symbolizes that despite the efficiency of man-made technology, machines are ultimately no match for the forces of nature.

Bradbury also frequently uses personification in this short story. For example, the narrator describes the robotic mice as “angry” about the dying dog and later says some of them were brave as they darted out of the house because of the fire.

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The main character in this short story is a technologically advanced house. Bradbury makes the house as seemingly human as possible by repeated use of personification. One example is:

The house shuddered, oak bone on bone, its bared skeleton cringing from the heat, its wire, its nerves revealed as if a surgeon had torn the skin off to let the red veins and capillaries quiver in the scalded air. Help, help!

Another is:

At ten o'clock the house began to die.

Bradbury also frequently uses the literary device simile, such as when he compares the fire consuming the house to a person eating a gourmet meal:

It fed upon Picassos and Matisses in the upper halls, like delicacies, baking off the oily flesh, tenderly crisping the canvases into black shavings.

Allusions crop up several times. The most prominent is the house quoting the Sara Teasdale poem from which the story gets its title, "There Will Come Soft Rains," including the cautionary quote:

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,/ If mankind perished utterly

Another example of an allusion that would have been current at the time is the image of the bodies of the families burned into the side of the house. This was a potent image in John Hersey's bestselling book Hiroshima, published a few year before Bradbury wrote his story. People would know from that and from the mention of radioactivity that a nuclear disaster of some sort had occurred.

Bradbury makes frequent use of imagery, which helps us picture the scene. For example, he uses both auditory and visual images in the following:

In the kitchen the breakfast stove gave a hissing sigh and ejected from its warm interior eight pieces of perfectly browned toast, eight eggs sunny side up, sixteen slices of bacon, two coffees, and two cool glasses of milk.

And another sentence employing both auditory and visual imagery is below:

Outside, the garage chimed and lifted its door to reveal the waiting car.

Alliteration occurs most frequent near the end of the story, as the action builds to a crescendo. Some examples include:

Somewhere, sighing, a pump shrugged to a stop. ... faucet mouths gushing green chemical. ...the stove working again, hysterically hissing

As the excitement rises at end, Bradbury also uses hyperbole or exaggeration, as in the following image from the nursery:

ten million animals, running before the fire ...

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There are many literary devices that Bradbury uses in his story "There Will Come Soft Rains."

One of the main literary devices Bradbury uses is personification. The home seems almost human, carrying on even in the absence of humans themselves. For example, even from the beginning of the story, the alarm clock is described as "singing" in an attempt to awaken humans who are not there. Soon after, the weather box sings a song, begging the rainy day to go away. The stove makes breakfast all by itself, and when the house is consumed by fire, it is described as dying. Even in the midst of the destruction that ensues, the house tries to fight for its survival and, in the words of Bradbury, "to save itself."

Both the house's destruction and the fire that destroys it are described in human terms. As the fire attacks the house, it is described as "clever" in its attempts to kill. It achieves victory as the house disintegrates and "shudders." The house is relayed as being open and stripped of flesh, a "bared skeleton" whose wires are figured as "nerves," laid open like a surgeon cutting open a human body.

The destruction of the house is also made more vivid and sensually engaging to the reader through the use of onomatopoeia and simile. For example, when the house is being destroyed, it "puffs" out smoke and sparks. The stove "hisses" and the attic "smashes," while the author mentions the destruction of the home through sounds such as the word "crash."

Similes also allow the reader to immerse themselves visually in the tragic scene. The power of the heat is described as "like the first brittle winter ice" and the mechanized voices as "like a tragic nursery rhyme" and "like children dying in a forest."

Bradbury uses the power of sound, comparison, and personification to allow the reader to become fully immersed in the events of the story.

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