There Will Come Soft Rains

Clock Character Analysis

The clock is part of the machinery of the house, but it features so prominently that it is a character in its own right. The clock demonstrates a solicitous attitude—it is afraid no one will hear it—at the very beginning of the story when it announces 7:00 a.m. Its concern, combined with its state of being alone in the house, ingratiates the clock to the reader. However, as the day wears on, timestamps in the story calling out the hour suggest that the clock is more complicated than a lonely machine that misses its residents. As it continues to call out minutes and hours throughout the day, the house responds by initiating new activities. Through this dynamic between the clock and the house, readers discover that the clock wields great power over the house. It decides what , and when. When the house begins to die, readers learn that the clock has a strong attachment to this power. It continues to cry out the time, even though its words no longer initiate new activities. When, with its last words, the clock declares that a new day has started, readers see a pathetic figure reaching for power that has finally escaped its grasp. The clock reminds the reader of how quickly time passes. Its grim fate also clues the reader into what sort of future awaits someone who is constantly trying to control the world around them.

Clock Quotes in There Will Come Soft Rains

The There Will Come Soft Rains quotes below are all either spoken by Clock or refer to Clock. 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:
Life vs. Technology Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Simon & Schuster edition of There Will Come Soft Rains published in 1977.
There Will Come Soft Rains Quotes

In the living room the voice-clock sang, Tick-tock, seven o’clock, time to get up, time to get up, seven o’clock! as if it were afraid that nobody would. The morning house lay empty. The clock ticked on, repeating and repeating its sounds into the emptiness. Seven-nine, breakfast time, seven-nine!

Related Characters: Clock (speaker), The House, The McClellan Family
Page Number: 220
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation long mobile

Unlock explanations and citation info for this and every other There Will Come Soft Rains quote.

Plus so much more...

Get LitCharts A+
Already a LitCharts A+ member? Sign in!

In the last instant under the fire avalanche, other choruses, oblivious, could be heard announcing the time, playing music, cutting the lawn by remote-control mower, or setting an umbrella frantically out and in the slamming and opening front door, a thousand things happening, like a clock shop when each clock strikes the hour insanely before or after the other, a scene of maniac confusion, yet unity; singing, screaming, a few last cleaning mice darting bravely out to carry the horrid ashes away! And one voice, with sublime disregard for the situation, read poetry aloud in the fiery study, until all the film spools burned, until all the wires withered and the circuits cracked.

Related Symbols: The Natural World
Page Number: 228
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile

Dawn showed faintly in the east. Among the ruins, one wall stood alone. Within the wall, a last voice said, over and over again and again, even as the sun rose to shine upon the heaped rubble and steam: “Today is August 5, 2026, today is August 5, 2026, today is…”

Related Characters: Clock (speaker), The House
Related Symbols: The Natural World
Page Number: 228
Explanation and Analysis:
Quotes explanation short mobile
Get the entire There Will Come Soft Rains LitChart as a printable PDF.
There will come soft rains.pdf.medium

Clock Character Timeline in There Will Come Soft Rains

The timeline below shows where the character Clock appears in There Will Come Soft Rains. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
There Will Come Soft Rains
Life vs. Technology Theme Icon
Death, Control, and Time Theme Icon
Nature vs. Technology Theme Icon
At 7:00 am, the clock announces the time, singing relentlessly, “as if it were afraid” that nobody would get up.... (full context)
Life vs. Technology Theme Icon
Death, Control, and Time Theme Icon
Nature vs. Technology Theme Icon
At 8:01, the clock announces that it is time to leave for school. The clock sings a song to... (full context)
Life vs. Technology Theme Icon
Death, Control, and Time Theme Icon
Nature vs. Technology Theme Icon
...sea.” The dirty dishes are submerged in hot water and come out “twinkling dry.” The clock announces 9:15, and a hoard of robot mice emerge from nooks and crannies of the... (full context)
Life vs. Technology Theme Icon
Death, Control, and Time Theme Icon
Nature vs. Technology Theme Icon
The clock announces that it is 2:00. “Delicately sensing decay at last,” the robot mice emerge and... (full context)
Life vs. Technology Theme Icon
Death, Control, and Time Theme Icon
Nature vs. Technology Theme Icon
...to cry out until the fire consumes them one by one. One plays music, another announces the time , still others scream. Machines without voices likewise go haywire. The front door keeps slamming... (full context)
Life vs. Technology Theme Icon
Death, Control, and Time Theme Icon
Nature vs. Technology Theme Icon
At dawn, as the sun rises over “heaped rubble and steam,” the clock cries out over the wreckage. It says, “Today is August 5, 2026, today is August... (full context)