Structure

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Beginning

The short story begins with an exposition which seems to introduce readers to an average day in a house: “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”. However, the mention that the voice fears nobody would wake up, is the first foreshadowing hint that things are not as they seem. Moreover, the reference to a “voice-clock” hin…

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Middle

The middle of the story continues to follow the house’s activities, through which the rising action is constructed.

Quite early in the story, a short background on the house gives readers context: “The house stood alone in a city of rubble and ashes. This was the one house left standing. At night the ruined city gave off a radioactive glow which could be seen for miles”. This information suggests that a nuclear event took place prior to the events in the story.

As the story continues, the action is paced by the house repeatedly announcing the hour: “Ten-fifteen. The garden sprinklers whirled up in golden founts…”; “Twelve noon. A dog whined, shivering, on the front porch.”

Though vivid descriptive language, th…

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Ending

The falling action continues to describe the demise of the automated house: “Ten more voices died. In the last instant under the fire avalanche, other choruses, oblivious, could be heard announcing the time, playing music, cutting the lawn…”. Eventually, the fire makes the house collapse: “The crash. The attic smashing in…

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