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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What is the moral of "There Will Come Soft Rains"?

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We are presented with a house that demonstrates the incredible scientific advances of man with its technology. Human beings almost have to do nothing because the house does it for them. And yet, it is the same minds that have reached this level of technological sophistication that have also created weaponry capable of annihilating the entire species of humanity. The irony of this is evident.

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There always seems to be a cautionary note in the way that science fiction writers like Bradbury construct their future worlds. They offer us a glimpse of one possible future which we could be heading towards, and by so doing hope to correct the various excesses or attitudes that could...

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be responsible for leading to that future. In a sense, they act as fortune tellers by tantalising us with visions of the future, but then empowering us to be able to change ourselves now to prevent destruction later.

Let us consider what Bradbury might be trying to warn us about in this excellent story. What is notable in this tale is the complete absence of any human characters. The only mention of any humans in the story is the outline that they left against the wall of the house when they were consumed by flames:

The five spots of paint--the man, the woman, the children, the ball--remained. The rest was a thin charcoaled layer.

We are presented with a house that demonstrates the incredible scientific advances of man with its technology. Human beings almost have to do nothing because the house does it for them. And yet, it is the same minds that have reached this level of technological sophistication that have also created weaponry capable of annihilating the entire species of humanity. The irony of this is evident.

Bradbury therefore seems to be suggesting that this technology and scientific advancement that we are achieving (after all we are progressing so rapidly) is great, but that if we do not have wisdom to know how to use such science correctly, then what is the point? We are not as safe and secure as we think we are, and by presenting us with a picture of nature carrying on perfectly happily without us, Bradbury tries to highlight our vulnerable position.

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What is the most important moral lesson in "There Will Come Soft Rains"?

I think that what you are asking is whether or not There Will Come Soft Rains has a moral to it?

Yes, yes it does!

The story by Bradbury as well as the poem by Teasdale (both with the same title) teaches humans that technology, while we love it and depend upon it, can be our ultimate downfall unless we are careful.

Technology is great in the story and makes life for the family very easy--the house cooks them breakfast, entertains the children and keeps intruders out so the family can stay safe.

However, this same technology when used for the wrong reasons ends humanity as we currently know it.

We can move forward with what we know and make life easier, but we have to be cautious that we do not misuse our new discoveries.

This idea is very relevant for today--Obama is allowing stem cell research--imagine the great things it can do in the right hands and the awful things that can happen if humans misuse it.

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