There Will Come Soft Rains is a short story with no characters. Before you say it, yes you can characterize the objects and the dog, but for the most part there are no characters. The story is about an automated house in the year 2026. Despite the fact that everything around the house is nothing more than a charred wasteland, the automated house just keeps going. It prepares meals, cleans the house, and readies the car at set intervals. There are near the end of paragraph 11, the story tells us about a number of silhouettes of what is presumably the family that once lived in this house. Between the charred wasteland and these mirrors of what used to be, I’m going to infer that the world has ended. While there are a number of ways that a family can die while surrounded by a wasteland I would say that this apocalyptic event is nuclear war. And I’m not basing this guess off of the video. It was my first guess. I also found the ending to be symbolic to the message of the story. First, the story quotes a poem in page 3 which says something to the effect of, when man kills himself off nature will have a grand old time. Then shortly after that, a tree crashed through the house and lit it on fire. Despite the house’s best efforts to seal all air ways to suffocate this fire, sprayed whatever water reserves it has left, and using a chemical agent to mitigate the effects of the fire it just kept going. Page 4 started giving the fire and the automated house almost human characteristics. On page 4 paragraph 4 the story called the fire clever and paragraph 6 described wood support beams as bones. Eventually the fire won which is a symbolic middle finger from nature to civilization. Once the fire subsided the house chimed in once again. This time all it could do was say that it was a new day. After the destruction of the house the date changed from August 4, 2026 to August 5,2026. Even if this man made structure was destroyed, life marches on. And in the context of this story, by that I mean nature is still going and man does not.
I think I had a professor who was teaching environmental literature in this college who talked about a room in a building that he was working at. Either that or it was a high school teacher but that’s not the point. One of my teachers worked at a building where a door was closed for some years and was left locked. Eventually someone heard some noises coming from the other side and when they went to investigate it, the room had been conquered by pigeons. And by conquered I mean they got through a window and started nesting inside the room. From how it was described to me it was something around 30 to 50 pigeons inside. I don’t think he had an exact number on account of there were a lot of pigeons inside and that’s not normal. But 30 to 50 is how I pictured it in my head. An abandoned home and an abandoned room. I can believe this story because of that story that teacher told me. You leave a room alone for long enough and you can be sure that nature will try to reclaim it. An entire home will meet the same fate as that room.