Study Guide

The Martian Chronicles There Will Come Soft Rains

By Ray Bradbury

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There Will Come Soft Rains

  • This is probably one of the most famous stories in this book—it's been republished in many anthologies. It's short, weird, sad, and beautiful.
  • In Allendale, California (yep, we're back on Earth), an automated house goes on its automated way. 
  • Every hour is announced and the house does what's it's supposed to do. 
  • It makes breakfast in the morning for the family and lights a cigar for the husband at night. 
  • But where are the people?
  • Oh. They're all dead, and the rest of the city is a heap of radioactive rubble. 
  • The only trace of the family that lived here is the shadows that burned into the side of the house when they were vaporized).
  • The family dog comes home and dies. The house cleans up the body.
  • The house reads Sara Teasdale's poem "There Will Come Soft Rains." Written after World War I, the poem is about how nature will outlive humans. (See "Shout Outs.")
  • Toward the end of the day, a strong wind breaks a window and starts a fire. 
  • The house tries to contain the fire, but it can't, and the fire triumphs.

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