What are the times in "There will Come Soft Rains" and what happens in time?
Time is frequently mentioned in this story and each time indicates a specific event. In the opening lines, for example, the clock sounds seven o'clock and this indicates that is time to get up. Then, it is time for breakfast:
Seven-nine, breakfast time, seven-nine!
Shortly after, it is time for the individual members of the house to get on with their jobs for the day:
Eight-one, tick-tock, eight-one o'clock, off to school, off to work, run, run, eight-one!
Next, the clock sounds that it is 9:15, which means that it is time to clean up. This prompts the robot mice to appear and clean up the house.
The clock continues to make time announcement throughout the day to remind the family members of certain important activities and errands that must be done. At five o'clock, for instance, the house fills the bath with water.
These announcements not only control the flow of the story, but also reflect the McClellan family's reliance on technology. The house, however, has no idea that the occupants have died. Thus, the constant reminders of the time echo in emptiness, giving the story a bare and desolate feel.
"There Will Come Soft Rain" begins with a talking clock announcing "seven o'clock, time to get up." The next time the clock speaks, which is controlled by the house computer, "Seven-nine breakfast time, seven-nine"
"Eight-one, tick-tock, off to school, off to work, run,run.."
The clock continues to announce times and appointments all day long. It lists birthdays, appointments, meal times, time to clean, when to water the lawn and all of the chores the house is responsible for in notifying the occupants who are no longer there.
It ends at ten-o'clock when the house dies. The specifc times in the story are numerous and can be found in the text of the story.