City Tech, Fall 2016

Category: Reading Responses (Page 2 of 11)

Smart House

Phenomenally poetic, just to sum up Bradbury’s use of setting.  Bradbury began with ” 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 were afraid that nobody would. ” (p.1).  and “Seven nine, breakfast time, seven-nine!” (pg.1). From the beginning of the story Bradbury’s use of personification and alliteration, settled in great formation of a dramatic story of dystopian tragedy.  Automatically, my attention was drawn to the story with the question of what is “it”? Which Bradbury spoke of in the opening sentence.

Then the second paragraphs, Bradbury writes,  “In the kitchen the breakfast stove gave a hissing sigh and ejected from its warm interior eight pieces of perfectly browned toast, eight eggs Sunnyside up, sixteen slices of bacon, two coffees, and two cool glasses of milk.” (pg. 1). So far, in the first two paragraphs the reader is given the setting (The living room and kitchen) as the opening words of both paragraphs. However, what is fascinating about the first paragraph is the human traits of the household items. Beginning with the voice-singing clock and sighing stove.

By this point an assumption is made that Bradbury intentionally used literary elements to spice up his story. However, Bradbury continued to give human features to inanimate items. In a single paragraph, Bradbury writes, “Somewhere in the walls, relays clicked, memory tapes glided under electric eyes.(pg.01). Still in the beginning of the story, Bradbury continue to bring things to life, which only broaden my curiosity to suspicion.

 

Moving forward, it couldn’t have been a coincidence that Bradbury used such eloquent literacy just for literary sake. Then comes the beginning of page two, which made all assumptions accurate.  At the beginning of page two, Bradbury writes,

“Until this day, how well the house had kept its peace. How carefully it had inquired, “Who goes there? What’s the password?” and, getting no answer from lonely foxes and whining cats, it had shut up its windows and drawn shades in an old maidenly preoccupation with self-protection which bordered on a mechanical paranoia. It quivered at each sound, the house did. (pg.02)

And as it was written, the house was ALIVE!!! Bradbury was clever in hinting the life of the house, as it is easily mistaken for literary magnificence.  Moreover, further along into the story there isn’t any suggestion of actual characters, other than the recorded people of the past. It is realized the main character of the story is actually the house, in addition to the main setting. In fact, it goes without saying the house is very humanly, as it displayed strong human emotions such as, sadness, fear and disgust.  In all, Bradbury did a fantastic job in displaying literary brilliance, while maintaining the theme of Dystopian drama without the use of actual people.

Mankind: When will it be the end?

In reality, we human beings always focus on their own personal lives and been in peace into or world. But the only thing they should really be concern is “When will that peace be into an end?” After reading the text “August 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains,” by Ray Bradbury, there comes a time when the timelines and the house can be a symbol of something really important. What Bradbury is trying to show is when ever we move on to the future, objects and living creatures must always come to an end.

Let’s go over a few things of how objects and living creatures ceased to exist. There was a part when it was “Twelve noon” and it explains about the dog being lonely and hungry. How can we tell that the dog was hungry? That was when the text had said that there was a stove that was making flapjacks and it was filling the house with a delicious baked smell with a good hint of maple syrup. When that happened, “The dog frothed at the mouth, lying at the door, sniffing, its eyes turned to fire. It ran wildly in circles, biting at its tail, spun in a frenzy, and died. It lay in the parlor for an hour” (2). This quote proves that dog didn’t have any food at all because no one was out there to feed him. Not even the dog’s owner was there to feed him. Our guess, as readers, for the reason why the owner wasn’t there was because that owner no longer exist.

Another part was when it was Nine-five, there was a female voice that said that she would like to read a poem at random. As she read the poem, “Sara Teasdale,” there was a certain quote that she read was important, and that quote was “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” (3). That quote shows us that no matter what happens in the future, mankind can’t always survive forever. Their lives would have no choice but to always disappear. That’s why in pages 3-4, it shows the fire that came from a house causing chaos around the people and making the people screaming “Fire! Fire!”

So after going through the things we seen that was part of the text, these types of evidence shows that they’re a symbol of the end of the world. There maybe in a certain year that mankind would cease to exist in this world. It would be like waiting for the moment when the trigger gets pressed. And when I say “trigger,” I mean when the time has come for the world to come to an end.

Prvent hell from coming !!!

Technology advancements is an evil risk that can wipe humanity out of the face of earth. We have been well organized and created the laws and followed orders to stabilize the nations and to serve all humans existence on earth. All of that can go away with a smile mistake humans are making. According to (August 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains) humans created an evil machines that will function with out us one day. It is since Fiction but it can trigger a truth behind it.

August 2026 is not just about a machine that function with no body around. It’s not just a house that is controlled by man made machine but it’s about what can that machine do with out a human super vision. It functions with out the need of any human around it. And since its a machine it distinguish nothing about what’s a life and what’s not. The way how it treats live things makes it and evil practice. However, this short story can predict the future we are facing if things go wrong.

After all, I think this book is there to makes us think about what we can do to prevent any mistakes humans are making in out advancements.

Sturdy Like a Wall

Hey, I feel like this is an especially *warm* way to welcome me back to the world of blogging. Sorry for the lack of posts people this will all be remedied soon.

Nelly would *love* this house.

So where to start? Clearly this is a post-apocalyptic tale. How far removed from the end of the days, we don’t quite know. An interesting little tidbit was the part where the house recognized the once plump dog even when it withered away which leads me to believe it hasn’t been too long since the end of the days. Another interesting tidbit (I’m really digging that word tonight) was the constant announcement of the time. It was neat at the beginning but deeply unsettling the more and more you realized no one was coming to respond to it. And when it finally got to the end you realized it was a countdown and those are only good twice a year…

Yes it was a countdown to the house’s apocalypse; the end of the remains of the perceived end. There’s something beautiful and poetic in there somewhere but I’m the wrong guy to try and put that into words. Maybe something to do with our indelible mark on what we call home. Even in the end, we’ve built a legacy that will long outlive us. Maybe my favorite thing about August 2026 is that it doesn’t paint us in any particularly bad picture (nuclear annihilation aside of course). A family was enjoying a day out tending to chores and playing games when death came calling for them. It’s another smart sci-fi text that paints us as our own villain. Technology is what we make of it and ultimately we will be the undoing of ourselves according to the story. But that doesn’t incapacitate our ability to do something right.

I’d just like to highlight the house before I wrap this up because it kind of has to do with one of the points swirling around in my head. It’s not evil. After reading The Machine Stops, it was very easy for me to walk into this text, see the house was sentient and assume the worst. But the key word for me there is sentient. It’s alive. It calls out, it helps, it tends but like a loving grandmother. It never hindered anyone’s ability to do anything, as evidenced by the imprint of the family on the outside of the house. This is a good thing. In a barren world we were able to build something sturdy and good. Even in the end, it refuses to go out.

 

The new nature.

Hello all, this week we read “There Will Come Soft Rain” and watched a short film on it. The story features a post apocalyptic futuristic house that is self functioning for human use. We soon see that humans no longer inhabit the house since they have all perished in war. What I found to be the most interesting was how the house seemed to portray and explain the themes in this story.

The functions of the automated home shows us how humanity’s war is trivial to nature and machine. For example the story depicts the house constantly cleaning, cooking and trying to entertain it’s deceased owners. When the house attempts to entertain Mrs.Mclealen it recites a poem called “Their will come soft Rains”.  The line that shows us how nature does not care for war is

“And not one will know of the war, not one will care at last when it is done…. And spring herself, when she woke at dawn would scarcely know that we were gone.”

This quote here explains how nature will continue to grow and stand strong, way beyond humanity’s death. I find irony in the fact that the house is the one reading this poem, because it also still stands perfect protecting the interior and doing its daily activities. This shows us that while the home is advanced and perfect it will mean nothing when humans are no longer there.  While humans are gone the house continues doing its chores and show no acknowledgedment to its owner’s who had died.  The house follows a set of changes almost like nature would in its seasons, and it will continue with or without humans.

The house now taken the role of nature when we see it use robotic animals.  We first see it in “Out of the warens in the wall, tiny robot mice darted. The room was acrawl with small cleaning animals,”.The rats rigorous cleaning shows as a choir but when we see to the extent that it goes we get more of a sense of nature. “Delicately sensing the decay at last, the regiments of mice hummed out as softly as blown gray leaves in an electrical wind. Two fifteen. The dog was gone.” While it may just be cleaning I saw it more as the decomposing of the animal.  The very fact the house maintains that level of of cleanliness even after the dog dies shows no interest in what happens and only to strive.

The house also makers the appearance of animals in the children’s room.

“Four thirty.The nursery walls glowed. Animals took shape: yellow giraffes, blue lions pink antelopes, lilac panthers cavorting in crystal substance”.

This imitation of nature was for entertainment, but the fact that the children are no longer there and it still shows religiously must imply that the house has taken on the role of nature.

 

Nature Will Prevail

Nuclear warfare is no laughing matter, especially when it can eventually cause the end of mankind.  Ray Bradbury’s “August 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains” (1950), is mainly about a house that had survived a nuclear explosion, which had been inhabited by a family of four.  We were also presented with scenes that demonstrated the emptiness of the house due to all of the automated actions that the machines executed but sadly, no one was there to receive them.  The story gave us an impression that even though the end of the world has occurred due to the advancement of technology, nature was able to prevail.

Everyone suffered an unfortunate demise, including the family that lived in the home.  The empty home housed a family that were completely dependent on machines providing them the luxury of completing daily routines.  When it was time to water the gardens, we were given details as to how the surroundings of the home looked like.  There was mention of, “The five spots of paint – the man, the woman, the children, the ball – remained.  The rest was a thin charcoaled layer”(1).  The family that lived within the home died from a nuclear explosion.  Which clearly leads to the idea that no one surrounding the home survived as well.  The “charcoaled layer” usually means that the blast must have been so overwhelming that the people who were in the way of the blast, were burned to the walls.  The destruction from the explosion clearly demonstrated that the nuclear bomb is too strong for mankind to handle, which led to the demise of these people.  Whereas, a dog, which is categorized under nature, was able to survive the explosion.

The advancement of technology led to a world that neglected nature to begin with.  At noon, the story mentions that a dog of the family survived the explosion from the nuke.  The house let the dog inside because of recognition then we later discovered, that the dog was ill due to some radiation poisoning.  Once the dog dies, the text mentions, “Delicately sensing decay at last, the regiments of mice hummed out as softly as blown gray leaves in electrical wind”(2).  The dog’s corpse, was then disposed of.  Here we see an example of how technology treats nature.  Being an animal, the dog can be seen as a part, or symbol, of nature, which the house full of technology easily disposes of.  In addition, we can also declare that technology is the main source of harm towards nature.  We see examples of this in our everyday lives, which includes factories, pollution, etc.

The destruction of mankind and technology will be the day that nature returns to its former glory.  Before the house became engulfed in flames, we were introduced to a poem written by Sara Teasdale called, “There Will Come Soft Rains,” which stated, “‘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'”(3).  Coincidentally, right after the poem was read, the destruction of the house commenced.  We can see that nature was the cause of the house’s downfall.  The text mentions, “The wind blew.  A failing tree bough crashed through the kitchen window”(3).  Therefore, nature wanted to remove the last thing left by mankind.  By causing the tree to crash through the window and starting a fire, was how nature was able to prevail.  In addition, nature was able to fuel the flames that was engulfing through the home by providing oxygen into the mix.  So we can say, that nature was able to overpower technology, which was created by humans.

Overall, Bradbury demonstrated to us readers that nature should not be taken lightly because when all of us are gone, nature will remain.  The story also demonstrated that the advancement of technology can be a dangerous thing, as described by the result of the nuclear bomb.  If not managed correctly, technology will eventually be the cause for the end of mankind.  Lastly, we should not neglect nature because it can be the most destructive force of all.

 

“And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn, Would scarcely know that we were gone”

With all our technological advancements, it’s a thing of wonder how we as a species are able to survive and maintain our existence in this world for so long. Most species that walked the earth died out long ago, and yet we strive to live on in our own mortal lives and through the continuation of the human race through our accomplishments, such as with technology and science. But like with every beginning, there will eventually be an end and so too will the story of the human race end. Nature will reclaim the earth after our leave and eliminate all of the evidence of our existence, even with parameters of longevity we place into our technology.

In A:TWCSR (August 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains), human civilization ends at our own hands; we caused the “end of the world”:

“The entire west face of the house was black, save for five places. Here the silhouette in paint of a man mowing a lawn. Here, as in a photograph, a woman bent to pick flowers. Still farther over, their images burned on wood in one titanic instant, a small boy, hands flung into the air; higher up, the image of a thrown ball, and opposite him a girl, hands raised to catch a ball which never came down. The five spots of paint—the man, the woman, the children, the ball— remained. The rest was a thin charcoaled layer.” (p.1)

What you see here is the aftermath of nuclear annihilation; the house is charred to a crisp in a moment that captured a family enjoying their day. This is particularly reminiscent of Hiroshima/Nagasaki’s “bomb shadows” that left imprints of people onto various architecture when nuclear bombs were dropped on the city; these “shadows” are permanently etched into walls of buildings, which captured moments of what people were doing the instant the warheads were dropped. The actual date of when nuclear annihilation occurred in A:TWCSR is left for debate, but you are able to grasp the idea that the way things ended were sudden and unexpected; the residence of this house were enjoying their day together before the whole world ended, not in a panic to try and escape from some foreseeable event.

And although the human race ended, the remnants of what we brought to the earth remained and are doing the best they can to maintain stability afterwards:

“It quivered at each sound, the house did. If a sparrow brushed a window, the shade snapped up. The bird, startled, flew off! No, not even a bird must touch the house! The house was an altar with ten thousand attendants, big, small, servicing, attending, in choirs. But the gods had gone away, and the ritual of the religion continued senselessly, uselessly.” (p.2)

The “gods” in this example are humans and technology acts reverently to their masters. By trying to maintain homeostasis, the house defies nature’s attempts at reclaiming the house back to the earth. The “senseless” and “useless” ritual that the house does is just a programmed schedule that it follows tirelessly without knowing the circumstance the world is in now. The scope of understanding that the house/technology has is limited to it’s time-oriented protocols, rather than understanding that the world is over and it’s tasks are not needed by anyone since there is no one left to service.

The various ways nature gets personified through the short story illustrates how nature is a force that eventually supersedes everything. There were many ways that nature was personified (like with the wildlife trying to enter the house in the previous quote), but one of the most outright examples was how the “fire” moved throughout the house:

“But the fire was clever. It had sent flames outside the house, up through the attic to the pumps there. An explosion! The attic brain which directed the pumps was shattered into bronze shrapnel on the beams.” (p.4)

The fire, including in this quote, shows signs of “sentience” as it’s able to know how to sabotage the house’s infrastructure. This fire was a result of a tree branch breaking a window in the house and spreading solvent onto the flame of a stove; the tree branch being a representation of nature in this metaphor. The extension of this tree branch turned into a flame that is “clever” enough to compromise the security of the house, despite the houses’ efforts to try to avoid nature prior. And as a result of this fire, the house eventually concedes to nature, being reduced to one mere wall.

So what you can take away from this short story is that nothing is forever, no matter how much you try to immortalize yourself with your creations. “The end” is indeterminable how it will be caused, but the aftermath of this end will be played out the same. In the end, nature will reclaim everything and reduce the earth back to it’s natural state. Whether this happens in the next 500 years or…maybe even tomorrow…man will eventually return back to nature one way or another.

Olympus is burning

In the future smart houses that can run themselves without much input from those within are a possibility. These houses will do many of the jobs that would have require people to complete but now the people have more time between work and sleep due to the takeover of the house. On the other hand the house becomes a master of those within, telling them what day it is, what to eat and when, when to leave, what to do when, the people have given up their freedom. The house serves the people yet even without them it carries on it duties for those who no longer are there to benefit from them. Automation to the point of disconnection with what is happened outside and the failure to see the futility of its own actions. What is the meaning of existing when there is nothing to acknowledge you, to simply be without a clear need to be?

Humans are different from all other species on Earth due to the fact that they have a larger mental capacity, opposable thumbs and the ability to make tools. Over the years better tools were developed in order to do things faster, better and costless. These tools have reached the point where all a human has to do is press “Start”, and the machine just takes over what used to require a human presence. Machines began to replace human workers on assembly lines, mines, ships, customer service and many other human occupancies. The house has taken over all of the daily work required to keep a household running. This includes cleaning, cooking, weather forecast, event reminder, taking care of the children, recreation and much more. The people within lived their lives based on the schedule created by the house, based on the actions that the house has undertaken. They are called for food only when the house prepares it. They are given fun only when the house deploys the means by which to have it and let them go only when it was time to. The whole existence of the house is to contribute to the daily lives of the people within by taking over the jobs they no longer wish to do. “The house was an altar with ten thousand attendants, big, small, servicing, attending, in choirs. But the gods had gone away, and the ritual of the religion continued senselessly, uselessly.”(2). Human built the house to serve them, and as a loyal creation it follows their wishes even after their demise.

The poem by Sara Teasdale “There will come soft rains” has weight in light of the fact that it would appear that humanity was wiped out in a nuclear war. And with all the humanity gone, there is nothing left to acknowledge what came before, what is happening now, what will happen later. Just like the lines “And not one will know of the war, not one will care at last when it is done. 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.” (3). Even the house doesn’t recognize that the people it is meant to serve are not there. There were before but now they are outlines on one of the outside walls, with no eyes to see what become of them. All that remains is the house they made, the last piece of humanity, warm, alive, and creative enclosed in lifeless space.

A home without people is dead, it serves on one and takes up space. But this one is different, it has brain. It can talk, clean, and entertain. Built by gods that saw the world as theirs and that they would always be here. Alas they were slain by their own hands. Those that toiled under a different flag, which also swayed when the bombs fell. The great cities of man, once great and tall. Where found buried, people and all. Yet they found a new shine, giving off a radioactive glow. (1). Yet none can see what is now, for they all were gone before. One last home stands alone, a house of wonder that keep the builders warm. It severed all their needs and more, yet it too would be no more. It was a remnant of those before and so would share their fate. The wind and the tree made a pact to remove the last. Fire took hold and destroyed the mice. It silenced the last voice of a people long gone. The house was alive, it wished to live. It fought back vs nature, the same as the builders did long ago. The house fell to a force older then the ones who made it, older than time. Yet in the end the house won, one voice remained, telling the date.

All that humanity has this is one world, and of that we can live on less than a forth. It is true that land is limited and so are the resourced needed to thrive. That is the reason that nations go to war, however it is also because people are flawed. People forget that they fight other people and in a world filled with technology that automates everything including killing it becomes an afterthought. With one button the world can be destroyed and no one will be left to benefit from the land. Time is meaningless if there is nothing to keep track of it and space is nothing, if no one needs it. In life there is meaning, it creates its own. In death there is nothing.

Neither Man Nor Machine Will Outlast The Beauty Of Nature

It is fascinating the writing skills Ray Bradbury implements in the majority of his novels and short stories. He has become one of my favorite science fiction authors because he utilizes a rich variety of literary techniques that quickly engage his readers and keep their attention. One clear example of the way Bradbury increases the reader’s interest and incites suspense is in the short story “There Will Come soft Rains”. In this dramatic story, we are introduced to the year August 2026 in the city of Allendale, California. An atomic catastrophe takes place which vanish the inhabitants from the face of Earth. From the remains of the destruction, there stands only a house that becomes the main character in the story. Bradbury implements literary elements such as irony and personification to convey the readers the humankind’s demise when technology surpasses humanity, yet machine will never outlast the power of nature.

Bradbury gracefully utilizes irony to illustrate the idea that although technology might overpower humankind and lead it to its destruction, nature will prevail and conquer even after the human race has perished. Throughout the short story we can observe the different technological devices that have been implemented to the house in order to facilitate the lives of the people who once inhabited in there. However we can observe how the people have tried to get rid of nature yet they have replaced it with technological machines. In the story it manifests “bridge tables sprouted from patio walls. Playing cards fluttered onto pads in a shower of pips. Martinis manifested on an oaken bench with egg-salad sandwiches. Music played. At four o’clock the tables folded like great butterflies back through the paneled walls”(Page 2). Through the naturalistic description in which this quote is described, we can express that it is ironic the fact that while humans try to desperately suppress nature and manipulate it to their own convenience, their technological inventions end up imitating them. Another example where humans try to use technological machines to outpace nature is depicted through the description of the nursery room. As the author writes “Animals took shape: yellow giraffes, blue lions, pink antelopes, lilac panthers cavorting in crystal substance…The nursery floor was woven to resemble a crisp, cereal meadow. Over this ran roaches and iron crickets, and in the hot still air butterflies of delicate red tissue wavered among the sharp aroma of animal spoors”(Page 2). In this quote, irony is clearly present as they attempt to resemble animals by using technology. It is also ironic the fact that humankind is mostly responsible for destroying nature, killing animals, and disrupting wildlife, yet they desire to recreate them through robotics creations. The people at this household, an even the society at this time, wants to rely on technology and dismiss nature, but what they do not know is that technology will bring them to their  annihilation and to the flourishment of nature to its finest.

Another example of the use of irony is given through the poem “There Will Come Soft Rains” by Sara Teasdale. Bradbury skillfully uses Sara’s poem to reinforce the idea that technology can lead to mankind’s destruction, yet nature will never cease to exist. In the poem, her author shows the beauty of nature to its maximum expression as she manifests “There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground, and swallows circling with their shimmering sound”(Page 3). However, she also reveals mankind’s demise and how nature will perdure after human’s disappearance from Earth. This is depicted when Sara mentions “And not one will know of the war, not one will care at last when it is done. Not one would mind, neither bird not tree, if mankind perish utterly”(Page 3). Through this quote, the author reveals us that nature would unnoticed the disappearance of the human race yet it will continue flourishing, proving that neither man nor machine will outcast the magnificence of nature.

Personification is also another element of fiction Bradbury utilizes to develop the idea that technology will outcast humanity while nature will endure against everything else. In the first pages of the story, we notice that there is no sign of human life present in the story. Humanity has been destroyed after an atomic bomb fell on the city of Allendale. What is left from this catastrophe is an empty smart house which Bradbury utilizes as the main character of the entire story. The author gives this house human features and emotions almost like it was another member of the family that once lived in the house. Bradbury illustrates a rich variety of personification to develop the idea of this house-machine, how it keeps standing still, hoping of its masters return, and how at last it falls down, burns to ashes and gets destroyed by the powerful nature. For instance, when the author explains how the house machine has been preserved after the nuclear accident, it is revealed to us that the smart house asks for password to any intruder that come closer to it. We observe that only animals such as “lonely foxes and whining cats”(Page 2) approach to the house in seek of refuge. However, getting no answers in response the house has isolated itself in a way that “it has shut up its windows and drawn shades in an old maidenly preoccupation with self-protection which bordered on a mechanical paranoia.”(Page 2). Through this quote, the author gives the house human feelings, like of a worried and protective mother, whose concern is to protect anything inside it. We also notice that nature wants to invade the house-machine and overtake it by becoming an animal shelter. However, just as humanity, the house rejects the nature and worries that an intruder might step its installations. So as a consequence the house isolated itself from its outside environment.

Another example of personification of the futuristic house is depicted towards the end of the story when the house starts to lose the battle against nature. Here the author brings back the central theme that nature will outlive even after the destruction of man’s civilization. A tree falls through the window and ignites a fire in the house. We can observe the use of the literary element of personification as the house desperately “tried to save itself”(Page 3). However the force of nature is much stronger as the fierce wind increases the fire. The house’s attempts to save itself are in vain and after giving its final signs of life, the house burns out and becomes ruins and dust.

An Unceremonious Pyre

Ray Bradbury takes the victimless burning of an empty house and turns it into an act of arson in his short story August 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains. Bradbury depicts a near future where nuclear technology has fanned the flames of war, and humanity has failed to contain it. Bradbury forewarns the readers that by playing with fire, we invite it into our homes, allow it to undo our endeavors and scorch the Earth.

At first the fire seems to be an intruder, but it is begrudgingly one of the house’s many servants. The fire makes it grand entrance at ten o’clock, however it had been obediently sitting in the basement waiting for an opportune time to strike. The burning of the house, already a sacrilegious act, is heightened by the houses’ personification. A house is ordinarily a safe space, where no harm can come to a family. The fire is indifferent, irreverent and full of guile, Bradbury writes “Now the fire lay in beds, stood in windows, changed the colors of the drapes!” (3) Here the fire is personified as well, it outwits the house and overpowers its systems. It cannot be contained. Its hunger is insatiable.

As the fire runs amok in the house, it destroys more than wood and steel, it devours the triumphs of humanity. Bradbury continues describing the flames exploration of the house, “The fire crackled up the stairs. It fed upon Picassos and Matisses in the upper halls, like delicacies, baking off the oily flesh, tenderly crisping the canvases into black shavings.” (3) In an instant, two great artists disappear entirely and once and for all from memory. In the last house, the sole remaining proof of our potential, for beauty and destruction, is turned to ash.  In those ashes lie the proof of humanities triumphs, now to be mixed with the rest of the ashes man has unwittingly left behind.

The magnitude of our capabilities for destruction surpass even the most cynical minds. The Earth is not sparred and left to flourish in our absence as Sara Teasdale had written in the titular poem, “Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree, if mankind perished utterly;” (3) Even the Earth, immemorial and immutable, is left near barren and irradiated. Humanity is ignorant of the fire it wields. Even up to the last moment, they carry on as though the fire were a distant and unfamiliar threat, as proof by the family’s last moments etched into the side of the house.

Humanity has burned its shared home in Bradbury’s text. Bradbury text is set in a future that is entirely possible with the weapons at humanity’s present disposal, making the text even more horrifying and poignant. Much like the house, we can’t do more than carry on in our routines and hope the fire does not catch us absentminded.

« Older posts Newer posts »