illustration of a nature scene with a bird in the grass next to a puddle that shows a translucent reflection of a human

There Will Come Soft Rains

by Ray Bradbury

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How does the author's figurative language characterize the house?

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In this story, Bradbury shows the dangerous side of technology. In this scenario of the future, people have let technology dominate their lives. As a result, they developed technological weapons capable of destroying civilization. The house is automated and self-sufficient. It's as if the house is an individual taking care of, and controlling, the family that lives (lived) there. As such, the house is personified by the author.

In the first line, the voice of the house sings "as if it were afraid" when it is time to wake up the family:

In the living room the voice-clock sang, Tick-tock, seven o'clock, time to get up, time to get up, seven o'clock! as if it were afraid that nobody would.

Before the nuclear war, the house had been very efficient. "Until this day, how well the house had kept its peace. How carefully it had inquired, "Who goes there? What's the password?" The house answers the door just like a person would. The narrator later adds that the house begins to die at ten o'clock. This is another example of personification or anthropomorphization. The house is not described like a machine breaking down. It is dying. The narrator adds, "The house tried to save itself." Once again, the author shows how the house was almost sentient. That is, the house was like a conscious being.

Bradbury is stressing the message that when technology becomes too powerful and controls too much of our lives, devastating things can happen. The house is a technological device that dictated the family's life.

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