There Will Come Soft Rains

These mice, which are part of the house’s machinery, display the house’s dark side. Like the clock, they seem innocent enough at first, and they are quite useful, since they are able to reach hidden dust that would be difficult and unpleasant to clean by hand. However, when the sickly dog returns home after the nuclear explosion, the mice seem annoyed to have to deal with a mess, rather than relieved at the return of one of the house’s occupants. They clean up after the dog without compassion, and when the dog dies, they hurry to clean up after it, not even pausing to mourn. The robot mice show that there is a limit to how humane a machine can be.

Robot Mice Quotes in There Will Come Soft Rains

The There Will Come Soft Rains quotes below are all either spoken by Robot Mice or refer to Robot Mice. 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

The front door recognized the dog voice and opened. The dog, once huge and fleshy, but now gone to bone and covered with sores, moved in and through the house, tracking mud. Behind it whirred angry mice, angry at having to pick up mud, angry at inconvenience.

Related Characters: The House, The Dog, Robot Mice
Related Symbols: The Natural World
Page Number: 223
Explanation and Analysis:
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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:
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Robot Mice Character Timeline in There Will Come Soft Rains

The timeline below shows where the character Robot Mice 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
...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 house to deeply clean. They suck up dust... (full context)
Life vs. Technology Theme Icon
Death, Control, and Time Theme Icon
Nature vs. Technology Theme Icon
The robot mice return to clean up after the dog, “angry at the inconvenience.” They always appear at... (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 buzz around the dog’s body “as softly as blown gray leaves in an... (full context)
Life vs. Technology Theme Icon
Death, Control, and Time Theme Icon
Nature vs. Technology Theme Icon
...water. From 6:00 to 8:00, the dinner dishes move “like magic tricks” and a hearth fire starts in the study. Opposite the fire, the house lights a cigar that is “smoking,... (full context)
Life vs. Technology Theme Icon
Nature vs. Technology Theme Icon
...a tree branch through a kitchen window. Cleaning solvent shatters over the stove, and a fire starts instantaneously. The house begins to shout, “Fire!” with many of its machine voices chiming... (full context)
Life vs. Technology Theme Icon
Death, Control, and Time Theme Icon
Nature vs. Technology Theme Icon
The house attempts “to save itself” by shutting its doors and containing the fire. The robot mice double as firemen, shooting water from built-in tubes until their personal supply... (full context)
Death, Control, and Time Theme Icon
Nature vs. Technology Theme Icon
The fire continues its rampage. It climbs the stairs and feeds “upon Picassos and Matisses in the... (full context)
Life vs. Technology Theme Icon
Death, Control, and Time Theme Icon
Nature vs. Technology Theme Icon
The robot mice make their way into the attic and attack the fire from trap doors in the ceiling, spraying a green chemical. This momentarily causes the fire... (full context)
Life vs. Technology Theme Icon
Death, Control, and Time Theme Icon
Nature vs. Technology Theme Icon
The fire delves deeper into the house. It “felt the clothes” in the closets. The pain of... (full context)
Life vs. Technology Theme Icon
Death, Control, and Time Theme Icon
Nature vs. Technology Theme Icon
The many voices of the house continue to cry out until the fire consumes them one by one. One plays music, another announces the time, still others scream.... (full context)