Why does the first sentence of the story "There Will Come Soft Rains" turn out to be ironic?
The opening line of the story begins with the smart home making an announcement that it is time for the family that lives in the house to wake up. The voice is pleasant-sounding, as we are told that the voice sings its announcement of the time; however, readers are also told that for some reason the voice sounds slightly scared that nobody is present to hear its announcement.
It is an ironic line because it turns out that the house's fears are correctly placed. The family that once occupied this intelligent home has been vaporized from the surface of the planet. Additionally, while the house is smart enough to know what happens for each occupant of the house at specific times, the house does not actually have a way of knowing whether or not the occupants are present in the house. The house goes about its business regardless of the fact that there are no people around to benefit from its efforts. This is hugely important to the piece because it shows that the technology, as well as the nature surrounding the property, would scarcely know if humans were gone or not, and that is how the poem within the story ties into the overall message of this piece.
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.
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