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.