What is the significance of the poem in the story "There Will Come Soft Rains"?

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The story itself is about how mankind has perished and been destroyed, but how even in its absence, the earth still functions, moves on, and barely notices that people are gone.  The poem itself, in its last lines, addresses this very issue:

"And not one will know of the war, not one/Will care at last when it is done,/Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,/If mankind perished utterly;/And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn/Would scarcely know that we were gone."

These lines basically state that if war comes and wipes mankind out, none of nature's creatures or functions would mind or know, that spring wouldn't even realize that we weren't here.  This is similar to the story.  The family is gone, but the house still functions as if the family is there.  It still has all of its programs functioning for the life of the family.  At 2:35 "bridge tables sprouted from the patio walls" for players that would not play.   At 5:00 "the bath filled with clear, hot water" for someone who was not there to bathe.  So, just as nature barely notices we are gone, so does this pre-programmed house.  So the poem ties up with that connection, that mankind really does not have an impact on nature and on the functioning of certain arenas of existence.  I hope that helps a bit; good luck!

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There Will Come Soft Rains

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