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There Will Come Soft Rains

This study guide will help you analyse the short story “There Will Come Soft Rains” by Ray Bradbury.  You can also find a summary of the text.

Presentation of the text

Title: “There Will Come Soft Rains” (1985)
Author: Ray Bradbury
Genre: Short story

Ray Bradbury (1920-2012) was an American science-fiction writer. Considered a pioneer of the fantasy, horror, and science-fiction genres, Bradbury is known today for the novel Fahrenheit 451 and the short story collection The Martian Chronicles, in which “There Will Come Soft Rains” was included in 1985. A first version of the story was published in 1950, originally placing the events in 1985. The second version sets the plot in August 2026.

Excerpt

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Title

Ray Bradbury's story is known under two different titles, either as simply “There Will Come Soft Rains”, or as “August 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains”. The second version sets clearer expectations for readers, because mentioning the date indicates that the story is set in the future and is, therefore, likely to contain science fiction elements.

The phrase “There Will Come Soft Rains” is an allusion to a World War I poem written by Sara Teasdale. The poem describes nature being oblivious to the end of mankind. For readers who know the poem, this will give an indication that the story will deal with a similar scenario.

Reading the story, the title becomes ironical. The story is set in a world without people, as the title foreshadowed, but this world is very different from what Teasdale describes in her poem.

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There Will Come Soft Rains

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