Critical Introduction

Nothing Remains but Soft Rains: A Critical Edition of Ray Bradbury’s ‘There Will Come Soft Rains’

Some short stories resonate with the world more than others, tending to be scarier and apocalyptic. There are many elements in Ray Bradbury’s short story, “There Will Come Soft Rains,” that make it well-known. However, there are very strong arguments both for and against this story and its contents. Whether it’s the less realistic plot or the harsh reality that the story presents, there is something for everyone to glean from it. And through lenses consisting of New Historical, Critical Deconstruction, Reader Response, and New Criticism, the short story can be interpreted and interacted with in a multitude of ways.

Candace Brown explores “There Will Come Soft Rains” through a critical deconstruction lens with the purpose of identifying and exploring contradiction within the text and using that to prove that the text as a whole is absurd. Analysis of the author’s use of technology in the story and the convenient malfunctions of the technology, Brown argues, reveal numerous inconsistencies that distract from the intended message and harm the validity of the short story. The high-tech house in the short story has a peculiar security system that, despite its artificially intelligent nature, is subjective toward threats and non-threats. This, along with other specific examples from the text and relevant information from related articles, work together to exploit the short story and its flaws, bringing the weaknesses in Bradbury’s work to light.

Eldon Moler delves into “There Will Come Soft Rains” through a reader response lens. His essay, “‘There Will Come Soft Rains’: How Does It Make You Feel?” explores the emotional responses one might have while reading the short story. It uses sources to explore the deeper messages being conveyed, as well as Bradbury’s techniques in his writing that make these responses so prevalent. He supports the notion that the short, apocalyptic story is meant to create awareness, even a edginess, in readers. By using darker images such as the shadows burned onto the side of the house forever, Bradbury is able to establish and instill feelings of fear and anxiety, something Moler argues is crucial when digesting this short story.

Celestia Phillips utilizes a new historical lens to analyze Ray Bradbury’s short story, “There Will Come Soft Rains,” showing how the story becomes a significant step towards understanding the fear and uncertainty that plagued Americans during the Cold War. The devastation and loneliness that rested in the single house was representative of all that the people were afraid of in the future and their posterity. Phillips also argues that the lack of empathy towards those the house was intended to serve gave many people the knowledge that they needed to understand how the technology they had created, while useful, was also destructive.

Maci Brent’s essay uses a new criticism lens to analyze “There Will Come Soft Rains.” Brent discusses the use of irony, tension, and ambiguity within the short story and how they are connected to a unifying idea. Brent’s essay includes imagery and metaphors from within the text, explaining the human aspects of the house and even the fire. It also provides examples from outside sources which elaborate on why certain literary devices might have been used, and what their possible underlying message may be. This all supports the notion that Ray Bradbury successfully uses the house as a unifying device for ambiguity, tension, irony, and to convey a message to readers. As one may notice, readers and audiences alike will have unique takeaways from the short story. Ray Bradbury’s short, apocalyptic story, “There Will Come Soft Rains,” is rife with minute details, a thickened plot, and bold/enriching messages.

Karley McCarthy explores Bradbury’s “There Will Come Soft Rains” through a feminist lens. Her essay discusses “Soft Rains” as a period piece, focusing on how Bradbury’s experience as a writer post-World War II may have influenced his story’s narrative and worldview around gender roles. One important aspect of this is the house’s personification. While the house seems to have autonomy and intelligence, in many ways it replicates the daily tasks of the traditional 1940’s housewife. The house does this to its own detriment despite the catastrophe around it. Throughout the analysis, Karley focuses on how Bradbury’s work parallels with the experience of many women at the time and how their experience post-war may have affected gender stereotypes and expectations.


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Beginnings and Endings: A Critical Edition Copyright © 2021 by Liza Long is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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