When and how does the story turn dark in "There Will Come Soft Rains"?
There are several moments in Ray Bradbury's "There Will Come Soft Rains" when the story seems to take a dark, sinister turn. The first such moment is when, after a long, seemingly idyllic description of the automated house, Bradbury writes that
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.
Before this point in the story, we have had only descriptions of the gadgets inside the house, but at this moment in the story, we get an impression of the dystopian world outside for the first time. The "rubble and ashes" and "radioactive glow" suggest that there has perhaps been some sort of nuclear explosion.
Another moment when the story takes a dark turn is when the dog dies. The dog, emaciated and frenzied, froths at the mouth and "its eyes turn . . . to fire." It then runs "wildly in circles, biting at its tail," before dropping dead. The description implies a rabid or ill dog, and its death certainly seems unpleasant.
The third moment at which the story takes a dark turn is when the house catches fire. The blaze is described as "ten billion angry sparks" that move throughout the house "with flaming ease" until the whole structure is engulfed. The fire eventually reaches "the attic brain," causing a huge explosion.
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