A Quiet City: Left Alone With Only One Voice

“August 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains” is a short story that is written by Ray Bradbury. The short story was produced in 1950. Bradbury tells a story of a post-apocalyptic event that occurred sometime in the future in the city of Allendale, California. At the beginning of this text, the author offers an eerie feeling. “Tick-tock, seven o’clock, time to get up, time to get up, seven o’clock! as if it were afraid that nobody would. The morning house lay empty. The clock ticked on, repeating and repeating its sounds into the emptiness”(Bradbury 1). It is a bit strange that the clock would be described as an entity. Bradbury describes the clock as being afraid of the loneliness throughout the house.

After breakfast is made automatically inside the kitchen and messages/reminders are said aloud, we learn that house is fully supplied to offer the necessities to its inhabitants. Throughout the text, we learned of the various technological advances that the house supplies. One of the technological advances the constant voice speaking throughout the house as it provides alerts and even the time. Another being the tiny robot mice. “The rooms were acrawl with the small cleaning animals, all rubber and metal. They thudded against chairs, whirling their mustached runners, kneading the rug nap, sucking gently at hidden dust”(Bradbury 1). It is quite odd that mechanical rodents would play the role as the cleaners. Usually, rodents are known to leave a mess within a household. But here they serve.

Bradbury leaves the reader to wonder about what had happened in the city of Allendale, California. “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). As a reader, I thought of the various situations that could have occurred. Maybe it was something nuclear like a nuclear bomb? A nuclear bomb would do the job of eliminating anything and everything in its way, including people. Like with the family of the house, they were probably wiped out by a nuclear blast. And the blast was so massive that it destroyed all the other homes and left one home standing.

The house seemed capable of operating on its own without the help of a human’s contact. This text reminded me of “The Machine Stops” by E.M. Forster. Like the machine, the house provided the inhabitants of whatever they needed to survive. Both entities use technology to help advance the survival of humans. But both would soon perish from natural causes. The ‘Machine’ had stopped working because of a few reasons. The neglect of maintenance, Kuno’s influence, and the incompleteness being a few. The ‘House” had been destroyed by a fire that broke out through the kitchen because of a few chemical solvents had spilled onto the stove.

Towards the ending, the ‘House’ is portrayed differently from the ‘Machine. The ‘House’ continues to operate and even starts up its own emergency protocol. The ‘House’ uses all it tools to try and save it from dying. The ‘Machine’ has many defects before finally breaking down.

Ultimately, Bradbury offers a quick and close perspective of what could happen if a nuclear bomb was dropped sometime in future. Human life would go extinct and cities would be destroyed but life will continue on.

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