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.