There Will Come Soft Rains


Ray Bradbury

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There Will Come Soft Rains Study Guide

Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Ray Bradbury's There Will Come Soft Rains. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.

Brief Biography of Ray Bradbury

Born in 1920 to Esther and Leonard Bradbury, Ray spent his formative teen years in Los Angeles. There he graduated from high school, and the rest of his education came from public libraries and the streets of Hollywood. At twelve years old, Bradbury began writing daily. He sold a few jokes and plays before publishing his first short story collection, Dark Carnival, in 1947. Quick on its heels came The Martian Chronicles (1950) and Fahrenheit 451 (1953), which is Bradbury’s most celebrated novel to date. He continued to write for decades and became one of America’s most celebrated authors of the 20th century. While most literary critics consider Bradbury to be a science fiction writer, Bradbury resisted that blanket description of his work. He mixed fantasy, horror, comedy, memoir, and occasionally science fiction to craft stories that are one-of-a-kind. Bradbury attributed much of his creativity to the fact that he never attended college, since he thought institutions of higher education confine one’s development. Bradbury was a great supporter of public libraries throughout his life, praising them as places for free thought and exploration. This self-made artist also resisted many of the comforts of technology, including hand-held radios, e-books, and even cars. Throughout his life, Bradbury never got a driver’s license, preferring to rely on bikes and public transportation. Much of Bradbury’s writing predicts new technology and speaks out against the anti-social behavior it encourages. In his personal life, Bradbury enjoyed a marriage of 56 years with Marguerite McClure. Together they raised four daughters and many cats. Ray Bradbury died on June 5, 2012. He donated his personal library to the Waukegan Public Library.
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Historical Context of There Will Come Soft Rains

In August 1945, the United States dropped one atomic bomb on Hiroshima and another on Nagasaki, Japan. This was a successful attempt to end World War II in the Pacific, but the destructive power harnessed by that new technology continued to occupy a large place in the American imagination. Already by 1950, U.S. citizens feared similar nuclear attacks from the U.S.S.R. and vice versa, in a conflict known as the Cold War (1947-1991). Bradbury brings those fears to life on the page.

Other Books Related to There Will Come Soft Rains

The short story is named after Sara Teasdale’s poem, There Will Come Soft Rains, which describes a time in the future after mankind has killed itself off when nature continues to flourish. Bradbury explores similar ideas in this short story and clearly takes his inspiration from Teasdale. Beyond the story’s namesake, Bradbury was part of a group of writers whose work responds to the events of World Wars I & II. Aldoux Huxley’s Brave New World, George Orwell’s 1984, and William Golding’s Lord of the Flies all express a similar disillusionment with society. Bradbury’s own Fahrenheit 451 is a deeper exploration of the same core ideas.
Key Facts about There Will Come Soft Rains
  • Full Title: There Will Come Soft Rains
  • When Written: 1950
  • Where Written: Los Angeles, CA
  • When Published: 1950
  • Literary Period: Postwar
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Setting: August 2026 in Allendale, CA—the aftermath of a nuclear explosion
  • Climax: Fire consumes the last house standing
  • Antagonist: The house
  • Point of View: Third person omniscient

Extra Credit for There Will Come Soft Rains

Dime Novel. Ray Bradbury used to write at UCLA’s Powell Library, where he could rent a typewriter for 10¢ per half hour.

Adaptations. This story has been adapted for radio, the stage, and even puppetry. In a surprising twist, Russian filmmakers made it into an animated short film, complete with artistic modifications such as heavy snow. While Americans lived in fear of nuclear attacks from the U.S.S.R., similar nightmares plagued the Russians, enough for this story to resonate.