The Long Rain

by

Ray Bradbury

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Long Rain can help.

Simmons Character Analysis

Simmons is an American military man who survives the rocket crash and the monster’s attack with the lieutenant and Pickard. Despite his misery in the constant downpour, he’s talkative and fairly upbeat, as he daydreams aloud about reaching the Sun Dome, where he’ll enjoy “a pan of cinnamon buns” and bask in the warm sunlight. He also appears to be the most knowledgeable of the three men about Venus; he recounts several stories of people going insane or killing themselves in the Venusian jungle (something that the other two men seem unaware of until Pickard himself goes insane). He also explains the political animosity between the Venusians and Earth people, and knows both the history of the Venusians’ attacks on Sun Domes and the special eight-hour drowning procedure the Venusians use on their enemies. This keen understanding of Venus and its inhabitants may suggest that Simmons is the one who has lived on Venus for ten years (as an unnamed member of their group claims at the opening of the story). If this is the case, though, it’s unclear why he doesn’t have a better sense of direction regarding how to get to the next Sun Dome, and it’s also unclear why he was in the rocket in the first place. Though the lieutenant appears to be the group’s authority figure, Simmons is the one who decides to abandon the destroyed Sun Dome in search of another one, and, later, to shoot Pickard after he’s gone insane in order to put him out of his misery. Near the end of the story, Simmons loses his hearing and knows he’s on the verge of going insane, just like Pickard did. Once the lieutenant is out of earshot, Simmons commits suicide by shooting himself.

Simmons Quotes in The Long Rain

The The Long Rain quotes below are all either spoken by Simmons or refer to Simmons. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Simon & Schuster edition of The Long Rain published in 1981.
The Long Rain Quotes

The two men sat together in the rain. Behind them sat two other men who were wet and tired and slumped like clay that was melting.

Related Characters: Lieutenant, Simmons, Pickard, Unnamed Man
Page Number: 78
Explanation and Analysis:

“Who could [sleep]? Who has? When? How many nights have we slept? Thirty nights, thirty days! Who can sleep with rain slamming their head, banging away… I’d give just anything for a hat. Anything at all, just so it wouldn’t hit my head any more.”

Related Characters: Lieutenant, Simmons, Pickard, Unnamed Man
Page Number: 80
Explanation and Analysis:

“Chinese water cure. Remember the old torture? Rope you against a wall. Drop one drop of water on your head every half hour. You go crazy waiting for the next one. Well, that’s Venus, but on a big scale. We’re not made for water. You can’t sleep, you can’t breathe right, and you’re crazy from just being soggy.”

Related Characters: Lieutenant, Simmons, Pickard, Unnamed Man
Page Number: 80
Explanation and Analysis:

A yellow house, round and bright as the sun. A house fifteen feet high by one hundred feet in diameter, in which was warmth and quiet and hot food and freedom from rain. And in the center of the Sun Dome, of course, was a sun. A small floating free globe of yellow fire, drifting in a space at the top of the building where you could look at it from where you sat, smoking or reading a book or drinking your hot chocolate crowned with marshmallow dollops. There it would be, the yellow sun, just the size of the Earth sun, and it was warm and continuous, and the rain world of Venus would be forgotten as long as they stayed in that house and idled their time.

Related Characters: Lieutenant, Simmons, Pickard, Unnamed Man
Related Symbols: Sun Dome
Page Number: 80-81
Explanation and Analysis:

They walked over to the body, thinking that perhaps they could still save the man’s life. They couldn’t believe that there wasn’t some way to help the man. It was the natural act of men who have not accepted death until they have touched it and turned it over and made plans to bury it or leave it there for the jungle to bury in an hour of quick growth.

Page Number: 84
Explanation and Analysis:

The Sun Dome was empty and dark. There was no synthetic yellow sun floating in a high gaseous whisper at the center of the blue ceiling. There was no food waiting. It was cold as a vault. And through a thousand holes which had been newly punctured in the ceiling water streamed, the rain fell down, soaking into the thick rugs and the heavy modern furniture and splashing on the glass tables. The jungle was growing up like a moss in the room, on top of the bookcases and the divans. The rain slashed through the holes and fell upon the three men’s faces.

Related Characters: Lieutenant, Simmons, Pickard, The Venusians
Related Symbols: Sun Dome
Page Number: 87
Explanation and Analysis:

“I remember when I was in school a bully used to sit in back of me and pinch me and pinch me and pinch me every five minutes, all day long. He did that for weeks and months. My arms were sore and black and blue all the time. And I thought I’d go crazy from being pinched. One day I must have gone a little mad from being hurt and hurt, and I turned around and took a metal trisquare I used in mechanical drawing and I almost killed that bastard. […] I kept yelling, ‘Why don’t he leave me alone? Why don’t he leave me alone?’ […] But what do I do now? Who do I hit, who do I tell to lay off, stop bothering me, this damn rain, like the pinching, always on you, that’s all you hear, that’s all you feel!”

Related Characters: Pickard (speaker), Lieutenant, Simmons
Page Number: 89
Explanation and Analysis:

“Stop it, stop it!” Pickard screamed. He fired off his gun six times at the night sky. In the flashes of powdery illumination they could see armies of raindrops, suspended as in a vast motionless amber, for an instant, hesitating as if shocked by the explosion, fifteen billion droplets, fifteen billion tears, fifteen billion ornaments, jewels standing out against a white velvet viewing board. And then, with the light gone, the drops which had waited to have their pictures taken, which had suspended their downward rush, fell upon them, stinging, in an insect cloud of coldness and pain.

Related Characters: Pickard (speaker), Lieutenant, Simmons
Page Number: 91
Explanation and Analysis:

He slipped and fell. Lie here, he thought; it’s the wrong one. Lie here. It’s no use. Drink all you want.

But he managed to climb to his feet again and crossed several creeks, and the yellow light grew very bright, and he began to run again, his feet crashing into mirrors and glass, his arms flailing at diamonds and precious stones.

Related Characters: Lieutenant (speaker), Simmons, Pickard, General Mendt
Related Symbols: Sun Dome
Page Number: 95
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Long Rain LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Long Rain PDF

Simmons Character Timeline in The Long Rain

The timeline below shows where the character Simmons appears in The Long Rain. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Long Rain
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
...friends, dead and dripping rain.” The men reach a river, and the lieutenant nods at Simmons knowingly. Simmons procures a small packet, which instantly swells into a large boat. The men... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
...trek through the waterlogged jungle. The lieutenant thinks he sees something in the distance, and Simmons runs ahead, hoping desperately that it’s the Sun Dome. The other men rush after him... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Determination and Luck Theme Icon
...point, and that there must be an electrical storm nearby that threw off their compasses. Simmons cries out that they’re no closer to the Sun Dome, but the lieutenant tells him... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
The lieutenant orders the other men (later revealed as Simmons and Pickard) to stay put until the monster departs. When the coast is clear, the... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Government, Politics, and Foreign Affairs Theme Icon
The lieutenant, Simmons, and Pickard continue onward, crossing milky creeks, streams, and rivers. Venus’ single continent, which floats... (full context)
Determination and Luck Theme Icon
As the lieutenant, Simmons, and Pickard carry on southward, Simmons suddenly exclaims that he sees something. Sure enough, far... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Determination and Luck Theme Icon
The Power of Memory Theme Icon
Government, Politics, and Foreign Affairs Theme Icon
Simmons takes off at a run, heartened by the sight of the Sun Dome. Panting, he... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Determination and Luck Theme Icon
Government, Politics, and Foreign Affairs Theme Icon
Simmons, Pickard, and the lieutenant reach the Sun Dome. Simmons flings open the doors, yelling, “Bring... (full context)
Government, Politics, and Foreign Affairs Theme Icon
One of the men blames the Venusians. Simmons explains that the Venusians live in the sea but periodically come out to attack a... (full context)
Government, Politics, and Foreign Affairs Theme Icon
...the bodies of the Earth people are who used to live in this Dome, but Simmons answers that the Venusians must have brought them down to the sea—“I hear they have... (full context)
Government, Politics, and Foreign Affairs Theme Icon
Simmons says they should try to make it to the next Sun Dome, but the lieutenant... (full context)
Determination and Luck Theme Icon
...for just eight more hours. Pickard agrees, but he laughs flatly and avoids eye contact. Simmons watches him closely. (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Four hours later, the lieutenant, Simmons, and Pickard are halfway to the next Sun Dome. Pickard declares that he can’t go... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Determination and Luck Theme Icon
...standing there with “manacles of rain and jewels dripping from his wrists and his neck.” Simmons tells the lieutenant that Pickard is already gone. They can’t carry him along with them,... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
The Power of Memory Theme Icon
Government, Politics, and Foreign Affairs Theme Icon
Startled, the lieutenant asks Simmons what he means by drown. Simmons can’t believe that the lieutenant doesn’t know the story... (full context)
Determination and Luck Theme Icon
The lieutenant says they can’t just leave Pickard here to drown, so Simmons turns around and swiftly shoots Pickard, who crumples to the ground. Simmons tells the lieutenant... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Determination and Luck Theme Icon
After a half an hour, Simmons declares that they’ve “miscalculated” the location of the next Dome. The lieutenant affirms that they... (full context)
Man vs. Nature Theme Icon
Determination and Luck Theme Icon
The Power of Memory Theme Icon
Government, Politics, and Foreign Affairs Theme Icon
Simmons says he knows he’s on the brink of insanity but doesn’t want to die that... (full context)