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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Ideas for Reports and Papers

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1. Find out about the house that Microsoft founder Bill Gates built in the Seattle, Washington, area. What can computers control in that house? How is it similar to the house described in "There Will Come Soft Rains"?

2. Research nuclear technology. Is it possible that a bomb could destroy all human life on the planet? How accurate is Bradbury's description of the effects of the bomb, especially the idea that the blast could be so intense that it would burn the images of the people into the side of the house?

3. Find out what critics have said about Sara Teasdale's poem, "There Will Come Soft Rains." Why do you think Bradbury chose this particular poem as the title for his story?

4. Compare and contrast "There Will Come Soft Rains" with other fictional accounts of the end of human society, such as On the Beach, a 1957 novel by Nevil Shute about survivors of a nuclear holocaust who must await their doom on an Australian beach.

5. In Bradbury's view, people put too much faith in the machines they invent. How has this view been validated by such events as the "millennium bug" crisis and by hackers' penetration of high-profile government and e-commerce web sites?

6. Discuss the ways in which such devices as anthropomorphism help to create characters in a story with no human characters.

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