There Will Come Soft Rains Theme

What would be the possible theme for "August 2026: there will come soft rains?"

Expert Answers
kmj23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the clearest themes in "There Will Come Soft Rains" is the theme of death. Notice how the death of the McClellan family (and of humans, more generally) is never made explicitly clear in the story. Instead, Bradbury creates an empty house, set against the backdrop of a nuclear bomb, which enables the reader to infer what has happened. By doing this, Bradbury makes an important point about the death of humankind: that an over-reliance on technology will lead to our own destruction if we do not act accordingly.

To really emphasize this point, Bradbury uses imagery. Specifically, the visual image of the silhouettes of people "burned on wood." He also describes in detail the slow, painful demise of the family dog which provides another series of strong, visual images designed to reinforce his point.

Bradbury, therefore, makes it clear that these people (and the dog) were cut down in the prime of life, without any warning or time to react. As such, he urges the reader to be mindful of the dangers of technology before it is too late to change.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In my opinion, the theme of this story is that human beings are letting technology run away with their lives.  The story is saying that we are putting too much faith in technology and that this will destroy us (perhaps physically, perhaps just emotionally or spiritually).

In this story, you know that there is "too much" technology because of all the things that the house is capable of doing.  It takes over all these jobs that used to be human jobs until there is really no need for humans.  In fact, we never see any humans in the story.  So I think Bradbury is saying that we give up some of our humanity to the machines.

Bradbury then explicitly asserts the danger of doing this by having the house (and presumably the whole city and even country) destroyed by a nuclear war.  Here we have technology literally destroying human life.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In addition to--paraphrasing William Wordsworth--people's laying waste to their lives with the overuse of technology, Ray Bradbury's short story "There Will Come Soft Rains" has as it theme Nature vs. Science.  For, as the very title suggests, despite the devastation caused by technology/science, Nature is a more puissant force.  While humans have created such a thing as the atom bomb, capable of great destruction, yet scientifically able to counter this destruction with a house that resists destruction by a formidable bomb, fire, a natural force, is capable of destroying this house.  And, in the end, even though the house is destroyed, the earth, albeit charred, remains. Thus, Bradbury's story points to the folly of machines that will overrule natures.

Read the study guide:
There Will Come Soft Rains

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question