An Empty Home

In “August 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains” Ray Bradbury uses a plethora of examples and sensory details to give an empty home life. Set in whatĀ appears to be a post apocalyptic world, with no signs of humankind except this smart house. Which would fool anyone as this house picks up on a lot of human traits throughout the story. Which is what a smart home should do especially sheltering a family with individuals that have their own personalities, likes, dislikes, habits, etc. Habits and preferences the house picked up on and even anticipated for them.

“Nine-five. A voice spoke from the study ceiling: “Mrs. McClellan, which poem would you like this evening?” The house was silent. The voice said at last, “Since you express no preference, I shall select a poem at random.” Quiet music rose to back the voice. “Sara Teasdale. As I recall, your favoriteā€¦.Ā  “There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground, And swallows circling with their shimmering sound; And frogs in the pools singing at night, And wild plum trees in tremulous white; Robins will wear their feathery fire, Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire; 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, 3).

Here the house recites word for word one of its owners favorite poem. A poem that heavily reflects the situation the house is currently in. A poem that possibly foreshadows previous events, events that left this home empty. ”Ā 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” (Bradbury, 3). These lines utterly give up what possibly caused the decay. Nuclear warfare is to blame for the decay.

Nuclear warfare as scary as it is. Is a possible scenario we ourselves live in especially with tension between almost all world governments especially those who posses such fire power. But being that this story was written in 1950 both Ray Bradbury and us were in periods in time with world governments have tension towards one another. In a period were the cold war started we can see that a race to be the most powerful country in the world left most of the world in ruins till this day. It is amazing the relevance of pieces of science fiction from the start of genre till now.

Although the cause of the decay is nuclear we can also see that it is also the cause of extinction of the human race. “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.The five spots of paintā€”the man, the woman, the children, the ballā€”remained. The rest was a thin charcoaled layer” (Bradbury, 1).Ā  Here more evidence of the nuclear destruction. The shadows of the family that owned the home left across it and most like were caught in the middle of the destruction.

“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, 2).Ā  But the absence of this family did not stop this smart house from trying its best to be a home. The house crawled with helpers with their own personalities.

“The front door recognized the dog voice and opened. The dog, once huge and fleshy, but
now gone to bone and covered with sores, moved in and through the house, tracking mud. Behind it whirred angry mice, angry at having to pick up mud, angry at inconvenience” (Bradbury, 2). Here Bradbury gives life to these robotic little mice. The dog symbolizes a final part of the family a part the house recognized. And was probably pleased to have. The dog ran through out the house and only found silence the decaying wounds it had made it weak and rabid. The fogs wounds are not explained how they came to it but it returned home to live it final moments no matter how dark or sad they were.

“Delicately sensing decay at last, the regiments of mice hummed out as softly as blown gray
leaves in an electrical wind. Two-fifteen. The dog was gone.In the cellar, the incinerator glowed suddenly and a whirl of sparks leaped up the chimney.” (Bradbury, 2). The dog was burned in the furnace a continuous burning fire. A fire that would soon meet the house and completely cleanse the world of the human race.

“The crash. The attic smashing into kitchen and parlor. The parlor into cellar, cellar into
sub-cellar. Deep freeze, armchair, film tapes, circuits, beds, and all like skeletons thrown in a
cluttered mound deep under.Smoke and silence. A great quantity of smoke.
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 isā€¦” (Bradbury, 4). A fire started by a collapsed tree that caused the fire. A fire hungry for revenge.

The fire fed on everything it could throughout the house till it brought the house to the ground. Throughout this altercation both the fire and the house held a lot of personification. The fact that the fire fed on a lot of things through out the house and the house did it everything in its power to stop the fire, the mouses tried there best to clean through out the mess but to no avail. At the end all the helpers and countless voices sank to the floor along with the fire as the last traces of mankind.

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