There Will Come Soft Rains


Ray Bradbury

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The McClellan Family Character Analysis

This is the family that lived in the house before the nuclear explosion (they are dead before the story begins but referenced throughout). The white silhouettes of the McClellan father, mother, son, and daughter appear on the side of the house as a reminder of happier times. Readers never meet the McClellans, but they learn more about them based on how the house caters to their needs. For example, the fact that the house serves a lot of hearty, standard American foods (such as pancakes, bacon, eggs, and toast) suggests that the McClellans’ were, at least in some ways, a typical middle or upper class family. The family also had artistic preferences regarded as cultivated or fine by contemporary standards. For instance, Mrs. McClellan used to listen to poetry on a regular basis, as is evidenced by the scene with the voice reading poetry in the study. Additionally, the family owned paintings by Picasso and Matisse, which burn during the fire. By presenting the family as ordinary yet refined, Bradbury suggests that what happens in the McClellan home is not unique; no one is safe from the perils of technology.

The McClellan Family Quotes in There Will Come Soft Rains

The There Will Come Soft Rains quotes below are all either spoken by The McClellan Family or refer to The McClellan Family. 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:

The five spots of paint—the man, the woman, the children, the ball—remained. The rest was a thin charcoaled layer.

Related Characters: The House, The McClellan Family
Page Number: 222
Explanation and Analysis:

The dog ran upstairs, hysterically yelping to each door, at last realizing, as the house realized, that only silence was here.

Related Characters: The Dog, The McClellan Family
Page Number: 223
Explanation and Analysis:

There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;

And frogs in the pools singing at night,
And wild plum trees in tremulous white;

Robins will wear their feathery fire,
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;

And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.

Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,
If mankind perished utterly;

And Spring herself, when she woke at dawn
Would scarcely know that we were gone.

Related Characters: The Voice Reading Poetry (speaker), The McClellan Family
Related Symbols: The Natural World
Page Number: 225-226
Explanation and Analysis:
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There Will Come Soft Rains PDF

The McClellan Family Character Timeline in There Will Come Soft Rains

The timeline below shows where the character The McClellan Family 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
Death, Control, and Time Theme Icon
...the house, whose white paint is completely charred except in “five places”: the silhouettes of a man mowing, a woman gardening, and a boy and girl tossing a ball “which never came down.” (full context)
Life vs. Technology Theme Icon
Death, Control, and Time Theme Icon
Nature vs. Technology Theme Icon
At 9:15, a voice from the study ceiling asks Mrs. McClellan which poem she would like to hear. When the voice receives no response, it picks... (full context)