Category Archives: There Will Come Soft Rains

Man vs Technology

 

The short story “There Will Come Soft Rains” by ¬†Ray Bradbury takes place in the next decade in one of the few remaining ‘smart house’. ¬†The events that occurred¬†prior to the story was the complete nuclearly annihilation¬†of humanity, this event occurred exactly on August 5, 2026. Yet the story begins after this event, at seven o’clock in the morning, a voice clock announces¬†the time of day to start the morning. The smart house cooks breakfast cleans itself, and announces that today is, ” Mr.¬†Featherstone’s birthday. Today is the anniversary of Tilita’s marriage”, ¬†this continues¬†throughout the whole story the clock announces the significant times of the day, but the reader always wonders to whom (Ray Bradbury, p.1). Though the home was able to accomplish so much, there was no use to it, due to the absence of human life. But, strangely¬†enough, there¬†was silhouette¬†burnt on the walls of the house, a ¬†silhouette of a father, a mother. and their two children. The only life in the house was a dog. This dog appears at twelve noon, “A dog whined, shivering, on the front porch”, (Ray Bradbury, p.2). The poor dog was covered in scores and mud. It ran up the stairs hoping to see someone, but¬†unfortunately, there was no one¬†to greet him. Soon, the hopeless¬†dog dies, due to his horrible condition.

At nine-five the voice says, “Mrs. McClellan, which poem would you like this evening?” (Ray Bradbury, p.3), but of course, there was no answer. The voice then chose by random, a poem by¬†Sara Teasdale. “Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree”, “If mankind perished utterly”, I think the theme of the poem¬†reflects what’s happening within this¬†house. Even without any humans this house still goes on, but soon after this poem, the house started falling apart. A fire had started, “The house gave ground as the fire in ten billion angry sparks moved with flaming ease from room to room and then up the stairs.”¬†(Ray Bradbury, p.3). Every room was ruined, every closet and window was gone. The house was no longer able to save itself, all that was left was ashes and smoke, but somehow one wall still stood, “Within the wall, the last voice said, over and over again and again, even as the sun rose to shine upon the heaped rubble and steam: “Today is August 5, 2026, today is August 5, 2026, today is‚Ķ”¬†¬†(Ray Bradbury, p.4).

The theme of the short story is the fear of technology replacing human beings, yet this story only proved the opposite point. Even though the entire human race was gone, the machines still went doing human tasks, this is the difference between machines and humans. If the story was about a human survivor after the nuclear annihilation of mankind, it would be a story of perseverance, of the human learning and adapting to the situation, not repeating the same task over and over. The difference between man and machine is that we can adapt to any situation, a machine can not.

Everything ended

The clock in the first made its alarm to start off the day. A voice appeared with what time it is. Waking everybody in its vicinity. However there was not a soul to respond. This home was empty. Within the first two paragraphs the narrator was able to describe that this house was a smart house. A smart house is a house that is able to perform many tasks that normally does not require the human interaction. Upon reading this is seem likely that certain events have occurred to cause the house to be empty.  This home is empty because the world has ended.

The breakfast has been prepared for the residents who no longer reside here. During the second paragraph, the kitchen was preparing breakfast. Then during the fifth paragraph, it explains that there was nobody in this house. “But
no doors slammed, no carpets took the soft tread of rubber heels. It was raining outside. The weather box on the front door sang quietly: “Rain, rain, go away; rubbers, raincoats for today‚Ķ”And the rain tapped on the empty house, echoing”(Page 1 Paragraph 5).¬† If this isn’t enough to prove you nobody is home, “At eight-thirty the eggs were shriveled and the toast was like stone. ” (Page 1 Paragraph 7). This explains that the food was never touched when it was made. After reading these paragraphs, the narrator is mostly likely foreshadowing something happen to the residents of this home.

Outside this house shows a view of destruction. “Ten o’clock. The sun came out from behind the rain. The house stood alone in a city of rubble and ashes. This was the one house left standing. At night the ruined city gave off a
radioactive glow which could be seen for miles”(Page 1 paragraph 10). The narrator describes a scenery of what the house looks like outside. The city where the house is has been destroyed from what appears to be the cause of a nuclear explosion. Nothing is left but this house, if there is so much destruction then it is possible to say that nobody survived which is why there is not one person inside the house. This is what has happen to the family of this home.

This possible explosion has killed the family of this house. Reading the following paragraph, “The water pelted windowpanes, running down the charred west side where the house had been burned evenly free of its white paint. 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.”(Page 1 Paragraph 11). The narrator describes the last moments of this family. They were outside a father was mowing his lawn, the mother tending to the garden and their two children playing close to them.¬† During this moment the radioactive explosion was sent off and burn them alive only leaving shapes of their bodies to be mark on the side of the house. They mostly likely didn’t know it had happen since they were able to enjoy a day with nothing to worry about.

From reading this novel, it uses imagery and foreshadows the events that has transpired. Nobody survived this blast in the city and the house continued to accomplish its everyday tasks without knowing that everything ended.

Tragic times

The article “August 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains”¬†by Ray Bradbury starts off with the narrator describing the morning rituals of a house waking up. The time period was set much into the future as the year is 2026 and many technological indications of the future were made. Much of the house was automated in a way, and things happened on schedule regardless. The surrounding area and city around the house has seem to be destroyed by some type of nuclear war as indicated in the line “The house stood alone in a city of rubble and ashes. This was the one house left standing. At night the ruined city gave off a radioactive glow which could be seen for miles (Bradbury, Page 1, Paragraph 7). The indication of the city being destroyed and reduced to rubble as well as the narrator stating that the city gave off a radioactive glow strongly indicates that a nuclear war may have happened. The narrator describes a boy throwing a ball high up into the air, and also a girl across from him attempting to catch the ball painted on the wall. The ball may have never come down because of the nuclear explosion that may have happened at that time.

Reading through, the reader learns about what happens in the house at specific times during the day. From the given information as well as the fact that the city was destroyed, it seems that no one is currently living in the house but all the activities are still taking place regardless. Other indications of a nuclear type war would be, “The dog, once huge and fleshy, but now gone to bone and covered with sores, moved in and through the house, tracking mud” (Bradbury, Page 2, Paragraph 4). This shows that the dog may be suffering from exposure to radiation from a nuclear war. Clearly since the dog is showing such ill effects from the radiation, the house is not inhabitable at this time. Regularly scheduled events that happen every day still happened, such as breakfast being made and the garage opening to reveal the car to whoever used to live there. This article shows how much damage people can do to each other. A nuclear war destroyed a thriving town forever.

What is left over?

In the article of “August 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains” written by Ray Bradbury, the author displayed a scene of tragedy after nuclear war. It had been a part of history already, grass started to grow on the land again, everything seems better, everywhere was quiet enough. However after all these happened, what is left over? Who was still there and enjoy such beautiful scene?

Bradbury described an image, “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” ( Bradbury, Page 1.) Here greatly criticized the terror of the previous nuclear war. The two children supposed to enjoy playing their ball at the moment, however, the outbreak of the nuclear war destroyed their innocence and happiness and marked down the scene on the charred wall, permanently. What had they done? No, they did not do anything but just playing. The merciless nuclear war just took away everything and not¬† leaving any explanations.

The author also described a scene of a dog in the bad condition which left by the nuclear war, the dog had a very dirty body which covered by mud. It was extremely hungry but it had nothing to eat. Even though the front door recognized the dog’s voice and opened the door for it. It still could not escape from the destiny of death. Bradbury said, “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” (Bradbury, Page 2.) We can see that the dog was extremely hungry at this time, unfortunately people were all gone after this nuclear war, no one could open the kitchen door for it and feed it with food, it could only breathe in the last breath of air or bite it tail to relieve the pain from hunger, and died with its unwillingness. Human beings created this war, but not only human beings¬† suffer, but also the animals. Even though they owned such advanced technologies in the house, but they can never use those again, everything seemed to be worthless after the war.

This article reminds me about the book called ” Silent Spring”, the overuse of pesticides destroyed most of the living things on Earth, people mostly were all gone after this, the entire world only left with quietness. It was the same here, the nuclear war destroyed most of the living things on Earth. It was quiet everywhere, you can still see the remains from the war. Unfortunately nobody will have the time to enjoy such a beautiful scene anymore. In this article, only some advanced Artificial Intelligent machines were left in the house, people were all gone from the house under the forces of the nuclear war. The machines were still keep doing their jobs, but it was still pointless, and at the end they can only watch all things were burned down to the earth and returned to silence.

Technologies don’t kill people, but people do kill themselves. If we are not able to use technologies properly, keep destroying the our environment, eventually we will harm ourselves. If we destroy the living environments for ourselves, even we still owned the advanced technologies, then what is left over?

A Possible Future

After reading through¬†Ray Bradbury ‘s ” August 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains”(1950), it gave me the view of one of the many possible futures that our world may have. In the story as the title says it is August 2026 which is obviously in the future since it hasn’t occurred yet and the story starts you off in a house going through the regular routine of the home owner. It goes through the usual schedule that has been set for it and everything in the house is done automatically. There isn’t a point in the story where any people were mentioned that are currently living in the house, though I would be surprised if anyone was willing to live in the house considering where the house is at right now and what the surrounding area currently as mentioned in the story ” The house stood alone in a city of rubble and ashes. This was the one house left standing. At night the ruined city gave off a radioactive glow which could be seen for miles” (Bradbury 1). Noticing the word “radioactive” already gave me the idea of what caused this destruction along with the time of when the story was written, I had already be assumed what led to Bradbury to writing this story was because of the dropping of the atomic bomb since 5 years before the story was written there two atomic bombs that were dropped in Japan which were known as the fat man and the little boy. As to how the story could be a possible future technology wise; technology from when it first began compared to where it is now had advanced pretty far. The story shows us the one of the many consequences of technological advancements, not only does it aid in the creation of things that can benefit mankind, but it can also lead to our own end with the house as a representation how our progress. “Fire!” Screamed the voice. The house lights flashed, water pumps shot water from the ceilings. But the solvent spread on the linoleum, licking, eating, under the kitchen door, while the voices took it up in chorus: “Fire, fire , fire!” (Bradbury 3). This line can easily represent our fall. With our technological advancements we build everything with the aid of machines that we have created. With that same technological advancements we have also created weapons of mass destruction which can easily destroy. The house itself can be a representation of how far technology has progressed, but the fire that is also destroying the home that was built can represent the weapons that were able to create due to the same advancements in technology with the house mirroring technological advancements and the fire representing the advancements in weapons which were made the same way.

As a side note while Bradbury’s dystopia stories are just assumptions of what the future may be like, it isn’t exactly entirely wrong considering that North Korea has nuclear weapons. Much like how Allendale, California was nuked in Bradbury’s story we may possibly end up being nuke as well considering the hostilities between the United States and North Korea according to the video recorded.

http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/23/asia/north-korea-seismic-activity/index.html

In the Wake of Our Death…

“August 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains” by Ray Bradbury is now my new favorite dystopian, future-foretelling short story. My previous favorite was “The Veldt” which is also by Bradbury, and which he also happens to mention in this piece! I will leave a link to it below.

Bradbury shifts us forward in time and displays the wasted, electric junkyard that is the remains of what once was humanity before an apparent nuclear explosion, as we read that only one house remained intact in the “ruined” city that “gave off a radioactive glow which could be seen for miles”, (Bradbury 1). There was not a trace of human life left in this city of “Allendale, California”, and presumably not a single life left beyond the house that “stood alone in a city of rubble and ashes”, (Bradbury 1). Bradbury helps us visualize this eerie, mechanical ghost town as the permanent daily routines of the house persisted and catered to no one. We also see some very accurate predictions from Bradbury of a dishwasher when he describes the uneaten toast and eggs being scraped into the sink, “where hot water whirled them down a metal throat which digested and flushed them away to the distant sea. The dirty dishes were dropped into a hot washer and emerged twinkling dry”, (Bradbury 1).

This abandoned, resilient home that stood in the wake of the end of mankind was still alive, with each segment of ones day blaring from automated voices in the ceilings, reminding no one that it was “eight-one, run, run, …off to school, off to work!”, (Bradbury 1). Allendale, California and perhaps the entire world is predicted as a society run strictly on machines that utterly replace human action. As we inevitably grow and innovate technologically, our advances will ultimately serve to comfort and assist any human action possible, much like the tiny robot mice that diligently went after any dirt or mud in the home on cue. The absence of humans in this story becomes even more evident on Bradbury 3 when it hit nine o’clock and as “the beds warmed their hidden circuits” in preparation for the cool night ahead, the automated ceiling voice summoned a Mrs. McClellan in regards to the poem of the evening. With no response or command, the voice chooses a poem by Sara Teasdale. The poem’s title and overall visceral point correlates perfectly with Bradbury’s piece in saying that these machines we perpetually create and improve will outlive us with no life to tend to, but it is nature that will continuously flourish beyond the ending of the civilization we know. As this singular standing house begins to “die” from Bradbury 3-4, we see nature reclaim the last manmade machine when “a falling tree bough crashed through the kitchen window”, later igniting a inextinguishable fire that consumes and stifles every last automated voice. I vividly visualize the demise of this electric home when Bradbury describes the wall sprays that “let down showers of mechanical rain”, (Bradbury 3). The robot mice still going at the last bits of ash and dust before failing and joining the fire that had now swallowed the home whole until “all the film spools burned, until all the wires withered and the circuits cracked”, (Bradbury 4).

Ray Bradbury is not a new author for me so I need to say that this short story, as well as his many other dystopian pieces serve as warnings of the result of our endless technological progressions and its dwindling effect on our emotions and actions. These machines take the place of  human involvement, which erase the purpose of any activity we once did physically. With machines to make every move for you, there is no space for humans to lift a finger in such a effortless, mechanical world. Our precious technology that we will constantly evolve will outrun us all, and nature will eventually swallow up the remaining evidence of whats left.

I also thought i’d add that Bradbury connects this story to another piece written by him, (also in 1950), called “The Veldt” when he mentions the nurseries that displayed glowing realistic images that made the walls come alive at “four-thirty” on Bradbury 2. These nurseries served as entertainment for children to visualize their inner thoughts, hence Bradbury calling it “the children’s hour” on Bradbury 3.

Link to “The Veldt” by Ray Bradbury if you’re interested:

https://www.juhsd.net/cms/lib010/CA01902464/Centricity/Domain/256/2016_The%20Veldt.pdf

A House is not a Home

“August 2026: There Will come Soft Rains”¬†By Ray Bradbury.

I am not sure, where to start? I guess that I will start from the poem that was inserted to the story, by “Sara Teasdale”, (Bradbury, page 3). ¬†The last four lines from the poem

“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”¬†

I understand that from the title this story takes place in the futuristic town of Allendale, California. In the beginning of the story we are introduce to the clock that is in the living room ¬†announcing that it is ¬†“Seven o’clock, time to get up, time to get up, seven o’clock!” (Bradbury, page 1). This let us know that if there are occupants in the house that they like to get up at seven to start their day.

However, we are to find out that there isn’t anyone living in the house, when the clock said “Eight-one, tick-tock, eight-one o’clock, off to school, off to work, run, run,” Then the narrator said “But no doors slammed, no carpets took the soft tread of rubber heels.” (Bradbury, page 1). ¬†It is as if the house itself is going through its daily routine without realizing that there are no human beings occupying it. Which reminds me of “Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree, if mankind perished utterly” ¬†[Bradbury, page 3(Sara Teasdale)]. The house maintain itself and protected itself how it was programmed to and can continue on alone.

Later on in the story we learned that not only there wasn’t ¬†anyone living in the house, but the house itself “stood alone in a city of rubble and ashes. This was the one house left standing. At night the ruined city gave off a radioactive glow.” (Bradbury, page 1). In this short paragraph it seems that there were some kind of bomb or explosion big enough to destroy a whole city and leave a radioactive glow. ¬†I think that the title of the story-the poem that it represent, is true to the story. I feel that people are the most destructive beings on earth and when we were created or evolved into human-beings (depending one’s belief), along with us came destruction. If we are not continuously looking for new ways to harm, kill, and maim ourselves, we are looking for new ways to kill, harm and even maim others.

I do believe that animals, those who remain wild can and will live on if all of humanity was to be wiped off the entire earth. Why would trees (who some scientist are starting to say can feel) want to be constantly cut down? ¬†Why would animal miss us when some of us make a game out of killing them? They would not. In that sense, We would not be missed. Not at all. But, the animals that we have tamed and the ones we made pets, if we were to simply be wiped out and they lived on. They would miss us because we have domesticated them. They are more likely to die shortly after we are gone. Narrator spoke about a dog whom “ran upstairs, hysterically yelping to each door, at last realizing, as the house realized, that only silence was here” (Bradbury, page 2) then shortly after that the dog dies in the house.

Within the story, it seems that everything and everyone was dead or dying in that city. So there was nothing left to miss the people in that particular city. The seasons will come and go and days will continue to come and go and we know this because the narrator said “Dawn showed faintly in the east. Among the ruins, one wall stood alone. Within the wall, a last voice said, over and over again and again, even as the sun rose to shine upon the heaped rubble and steam: “Today is August 5, 2026, today is August 5, 2026, today is”….” (Bradbury, page 4).

One thing I would like to add, even though, I believed that we would not be missed by mother nature if we were all to be wiped out. However, there would be evidence of our existence if another intelligent race were to be created, visited, or evolved  from our earth and then when this happens, if we are not missed, we will never be forgotten.

This is an article on the argument of whether or not Plants and Trees can feel: http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/botany/plants-feel-pain.htm