The first time I read the story, I wasn’t intrigued. But I gained insight and my interest was piqued after rereading it. All I can say is that this passage could foreshadow the near future. It’s hell on earth for humans.
The text should arouse speculation among all humans since for us, the setting and events of the story are 9 years from now. As the title says and as it’s mentioned in the story, “‘Today is August 4, 2026,’ said a second voice from the kitchen ceiling, ‘in the city of Allendale, California.'” (Bradbury, page 1, paragraph 3). The setting is automatically given in this sentence.
The city in this passage is practically a barren wasteland of a ghost town. “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 8). The imagery in paragraph 8 on page 1 could hint at what possibly happened. As some of the words in the poem indicate, “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.” (Bradbury, page 3, paragraph 2). The poem reveals the fact that there was a war and all of Allendale’s inhabitants were casualties. In other words, the city is devoid of humanity, which has gone extinct. They ceased to exist after a possible nuclear bomb was dropped on Allendale.
After humanity’s extermination, the house was the only thing that represented civilization. The inanimate became animate as personification is used throughout the story. Man’s supposed best friend, the dog, was the only living remnant in a place run by robots. Unfortunately, the canine met its demise shortly after being introduced.
Allendale has been turned into a dystopia where only artificial intelligence, arguably man’s greatest innovation, reigns supreme. Life goes on without homo sapiens. The androids perform their duties, unaware that their owners are forever gone. “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.” (Bradbury, page 2, paragraph 3).
This story reflects how far the world has come in its attempts to revolutionize itself, especially since the 1950’s. Humans have become increasingly dependent on technology, which they’ve strived to improve over the course of history. There Will Come Soft Rains gives a possible glimpse of what’s to come, according to Ray Bradbury. For him, it’s a dystopian future that’s ways off. But for us living in 2017, 2026 is the near, impending future that lies just on the horizon.
We humans are an intricate, yet controversial species. We enter this world only to exit it just as easily. We have the potential to evolve, yet we devolve all the same. We’re a means to an end and the end justifies the means. The only thing for sure is that nothing is for sure. We agree to disagree with each other, nothing more and nothing less. That is all we tend to do. That is all we will ever amount to. That is what defines us individually and as a whole species.
This tale reflects the idea that humans have the potential to bring about both construction and destruction. Our very own creations can be used against one another and become our destroyers. In the story, weapons are human inventions and are used as instruments of destruction in a time of war. Despite this, things continue as planned. We all play our own roles in the script of life. We live as actors only to be taken off the script and die. That’s the ugliest beauty of all. It’s evolution then, now, and forever.