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…”  (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.

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