What is the theme, or main message, of the story?

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edcon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Though he was fascinated with and inspired by technological growth, Ray Bradbury also possessed profound fears about its potentially destructive and dehumanizing effects. In "There Will Come Soft Rains," a 1950 short story inspired by a 1920 Sara Teasdale poem, Bradbury expresses the theme that Nature will outlast anything man can create on Earth. 

Though the fully automated house at the center of the story continues to function for a few days in the absence of its owners (who have apparently perished in a nuclear holocaust, the most destructive force manufactured by mankind), it is brought to its end by elemental forces of Nature. A tree branch, brought down by wind, leads to the ignition of a flammable cleaner, and fire consumes this symbol of man's technological achievement.

Bradbury's story observes that mankind could ultimately bring about its own destruction through war.  Because the world had so recently witnessed the global resonance of the atomic bombs that ended WWII , Bradbury's cautionary tale about the self-annihilating potential of technology was particularly resonant.

Bradbury, Ray. "There Will Come Soft Rains." 1950


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There Will Come Soft Rains

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