In the story "There Will Come Soft Rains" by Ray Bradbury, what has happened to the city before this story begins?
“There Will Come Soft Rains” by Ray Bradbury takes place in August 2026. The primary setting for the story is the futuristic house which features a mechanical world. The focus of the story centers on a house without a family to serve.
The story was written in 1950. Historically, the world was still reeling from the vast power of the atomic bomb. America used two bombs to destroy two cities in Japan in an effort to force that country to stand down and end World War II. Thousands of people died instantly; thousands more suffered from radiation and died horrible deaths. The author, like many Americans, feared the use of the atomic bomb again. In addition, no one knew what country had the bomb and who might use it.
To indicate the connection to the Hiroshima bomb which was dropped on August 6, 1945, the story takes place on August 5.
There are other connections that Bradbury uses as a warning for the public to see that even though man may destroy himself the world will go on. In the story, this fictional world also has been struck by a bomb of mass destruction.
The sun came out from behind the rain. The house stood alone in a city of rubble and ashes. This was the one house left standing. At night the ruined city gave off a radioactive glow which could be seen for miles.
In the book Hiroshima by John Hersey, the author describes several scenes that had been burned onto the face of some concrete walls that withstood the bomb. One particular tableau showed a man with his whip in the air about to strike his donkey. In the Bradbury story, the family has been married to the blackened wall: the father mowing the lawn; the mother picking flowers; and three children. Forever, the family has become a bas relief that sadly tells the story of the lost mechanical house.
The saddest tale in the story comes from the family dog who has finally found his way home. To the house, the dog is only a nuisance. He obviously suffers from radiation sickness since his body is covered with sores and his pain drives him into frenzy before he dies.
There is nothing to help the house when the fire breaks out. The gods have turned their backs on mankind and its foolish tools.