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There Will Come Soft Rains

by Ray Bradbury

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What mood does the setting create in Ray Bradbury's "There Will Come Soft Rains"?

Quick answer:

The setting of the story becomes a symbol for both the achievements and the destructive capacity of human beings.

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The mood of the story is rather matter-of fact, and this is perfectly in keeping with the message that Bradbury wishes to convey. As all human life has been wiped from the face of the earth, there's simply no point in adopting a style of writing that conveys hopelessness or despair—or any other emotion, for that matter. Now technology has taken over, and technology, whether it's in the form of a smart home or the atomic weapons that have brought about a nuclear holocaust, is of its very nature devoid of emotion.

So Bradbury adapts his written style to the new order of things. His job is to describe as faithfully and as dispassionately as he can the condition of the planet in the wake of nuclear Armageddon. In the unerring detail of his descriptions, he effortlessly gives us a chilling sense of what life would be like on earth if the entire human race were to be wiped out.

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The automated house is the setting of Ray Bradbury's story, "There Will Come Soft Rains."  In fact, the house is such an important setting that it becomes the central character, as well.  While there have been many books, movies, and television shows about the end of the world, most of these have a horrific tone to them.  However, Bradbury's story does not convey this mood.  Instead, the mood is also an automated response.  It is the indifference of nature to man as expressed in Sara Teasdale's poem that the house broadcasts:

There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,...

And frogs in the pools singing at night,

And wild plum trees in tremulous white;

...And not one will know of the war, not one

Will care at last shen it is done.

Not one would mind, neither bird, nor tree,

If mankind perished utterly....

Despite the nuclear disaster, the sun comes up in the sky:  "Dawn showed faintly in the east."  The mood of Bradbury's story is one devoid of all emotion.  The machines continue on; man is dead.

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How does the setting become important in Ray Bradbury's "There Will Come Soft Rains"?

The setting acquires importance in Bradbury's story as it is a testament to both the greatest of human achievement and the folly of human action.  The technological marvel of the house is impressive.  One can only find the invention of the house breathtaking with its self- cleaning mechanism and its ability to provide amenities and luxuries to its inhabitants.  Yet, when it becomes evident that it is human destruction that has rendered a world in which people no longer live, the setting of the story becomes a dual symbol.  The marvel of modern science in the house has to be put alongside the death and destruction that science has caused.  

The world that Bradbury has constructed is one in which scientific prowess is evident, but no one is alive to enjoy it.  The setting acquires importance because it is a reminder of the greatest of attributes of human beings in terms of their spirit of invention.  At the same time, the setting becomes a stark reminder of how destructive human capacity can be.  It is here where the setting gains significance.  It enables the reader to reflect about the wonders that exist in their own world alongside the capacity for destruction.

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In "There Comes Soft Rains" by Ray Bradbury, how does the setting affect the mood of the story?

Ray Bradbury’s clever story “There Will Come Soft Rains” about a futuristic home run by automatons focuses on the emotional depravity in the world without human beings.  What is the point of the home that keeps on without anyone to serve, clean, or cook?  Yet, the house continues to function sans mankind.

The story without any human characters demonstrates the difference between man and a robotic world.  The atmosphere of the story seems initially sterile.

On the other hand, the technology which does not appear to need man creates a chilling atmosphere.  The clock says that it is time to wake up; but, the house is empty. The breakfast is made, yet there is no one to eat it. On a wall outside where the paint has all been burned off can be seen sillouettes of the family that was working in the yard when the nuclear bomb exploded.

It is not until the dog comes back to his home starving and dying from the lack of human connection that the mood becomes frighteningly devoid of emotions.  Sadly, the house will not help the dog and is only concerned with the removal of the dog’s dead body with no remorse for the dead pet.

Time influences the mood of the story.  The story begins with the automated clock starting the day with the house following a chronologically mandated order.  Obviously, the house and the humans who lived there created a world of order and organization.  Unfortunately despite the technological innovations, war has eradicated  humanity. The rest of the city is “rubble and ashes.”  

Still, the world of the robots goes on. The cleaning mice hurry about the house to be sure it is free of debris.  When the fire occurs, the sprinkler system attempts to prevent the house from burning up…this is the soft rain that falls. 

The wind blew. A falling tree bough crashed through the kitchen window. Cleaning solvent, bottled, shattered over the stove. The room was ablaze in an instant!

"Fire!" screamed a voice. The house lights flashed, water pumps shot water from the ceilings.The house tried to save itself. Doors sprang tightly shut, but the windows were broken by the heat and the wind blew and sucked upon the fire.

In the end, the mood of the story impacts the lesson that the author shares with his reader.  Humanity has been given the charge of the nature.  Man must care for the world.  If something goes wrong and man becomes extinct, the story depicts the monotonous world devoid of man. Time goes on with the automated clock continuing to give the time.

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