Get summary, workbook solutions, questions, answers, notes. pdf, extras to the story “There Will Come Soft Rains” by Ray Bradbury which is a part of Class 12 English syllabus for students studying under ISC.
“There Will Come Soft Rains” by Ray Bradbury is a post-apocalyptic short story that explores themes of technology, isolation, and human absence. Set in the future, on August 4, 2026, the story unfolds in a fully automated house in Allendale, California, which continues its daily routines despite the absence of its human inhabitants.
The narrative begins with the voice-clock in the living room announcing the time, urging imaginary occupants to wake up. The house, devoid of human presence, continues its programmed schedule: preparing breakfast, announcing reminders, and maintaining cleanliness. Robotic mice and other automated devices scurry about to keep the house tidy. The story reveals the date and includes personal reminders about Mr. Featherstone’s birthday and Tilita’s marriage anniversary, alongside mundane notifications about bills due for payment.
As the story progresses, the house’s sophisticated automation is showcased. It features a weather box that sings about the rain, a garage that opens for a non-existent car, and a kitchen that disposes of uneaten breakfast. The house’s cleaning systems are described in detail, illustrating the efficiency and complexity of the technology.
Despite the advanced technology, there’s a haunting emptiness. The narrative describes how the house continues to ask for a password, reacting to the slightest sound or movement, showcasing a level of paranoia in its programming. It however lets in a starving dog that seems to have survived some sort of apocalyptic event outside. The dog dies soon after fruitlessly searching the house for humans and the house disposes of the body of the animal.
The house stands alone in a city reduced to rubble and ashes, hinting at a catastrophic event that has wiped out human life. The house’s exterior bears the silhouettes of the family that once lived there, etched into the wall by a nuclear blast, a reminder of the lives lost.
As the day progresses, the house continues its routine, preparing for events and activities for a family that will never return. It fills a bath, prepares dinner, and even reads poetry in the evening, choosing a poem by Sara Teasdale that reflects on nature’s indifference to human extinction.
The climax occurs when a tree branch crashes through a window, sparking a fire. The house’s automated systems valiantly attempt to extinguish the flames, but they ultimately fail. The fire consumes the house, destroying the advanced technology and the memories of the family that once lived there. The story ends with the haunting repetition of the date, August 5, 2026, by the last surviving voice of the house—a wall.
Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)
1. The author of the story There will Come Soft Rains’ is
(a) H.G. Wells (b) Ray Bradbury (c) Stephen Leacock (d) Raja Rao
Answer: b) Ray Bradbury
2. The poem with the same title, “There will come Soft Rains” is by
(a) Walt Whitman (b) John Keats (c) Sara Teasdale (d) William Shakespeare
Answer: c) Sara Teasdale
3. The story begins with the churning of the clock announcing which time?
(a) 6 o’clock (b) 5 o’clock (c) 7 o’clock (d) 8 o’clock
Answer: c) 7 o’clock
4. What date was announced by the Second Voice?
(a) August 5, 2026 (b) July 5, 2026 (c) August 4, 2026 (d) July 4, 2026
Answer: c) August 4, 2026
5. What did the voice repeat about Tilita?
(a) birthday (b) marriage anniversary (c) appointment with the doctor (d) none of the above
Answer: b) marriage anniversary
6. The weather box on the front door say quietly about
(a) strong winds (b) the possibility of rain (c) the sunny day (d) the tempest
Answer: b) the possibility of rain
7. At what time of the day was the house cleaned?
(a) 9 o’clock (b) 9.30 am (c) 10 o’clock (d) 10.30 am
Answer: c) 10 o’clock
8. What could be seen in the photograph of a woman?
(a) painting a wall (b) picking flowers (c) washing dishes (d) washing clothes
Answer: b) picking flowers
9. What was wrong with the dog that entered?
(a) suffering from rabies (b) covered with sores (c) badly beaten (d) bleeding profusely
Answer: b) covered with sores
10. Where was the incinerator lying?
(a) on the porch (b) in the kitchen (c) in the cellar (d) in the backyard
Answer: c) in the cellar
1. The dog is allowed to enter the house because
Answer: The house recognized the dog’s voice and opened the front door for it.
2. There was no one in the house because
Answer: The inhabitants had perished in a nuclear catastrophe.
3. The beds were warmed at night because
Answer: It was part of the pre-programmed routine to warm the beds at 9 pm every night.
4. The dirty dishes were dropped into a hot washer because
Answer: The automatic dishwasher cleaned the dirty dishes as per its routine function.
5. Tiny robot mice came out because
Answer: They emerged at the scheduled time of 10 am daily to clean the house.
6. The house fails to save itself from the fire because
Answer: The water reserve ran out and the fire overpowered the fire extinguishing system.
7. No one could enter the house because
Answer: The house was paranoid about letting anyone in and asked for passwords.
8. The mice were angry because
Answer: They had to clean up the mud tracked in by the dog, which was an extra hassle.
9. The voice tells Mrs McClellan that it will read out the poem on its own because
Answer: There was no response from Mrs McClellan to choose a poem, since she was dead.
10. The fire continued to rage because
Answer: The attack of the fire was very fierce and it spread rapidly through the house.
Short Answer Questions
1. What kind of story is “There will Come Soft Rains”?
Answer: It is a post-apocalyptic science-fiction short story.
2. Which activities are performed by the devices in the house at seven o’clock?
Answer: The devices automatically prepare a full breakfast spread of eggs, bacon, toast, coffee and milk even though no one is there to eat it. They also give a regular weather update and reminder of events.
3. Who were the occupants of the house? Where are they now?
Answer: The house was occupied by the McClellan family consisting of parents and children. Now it seems the entire family has tragically perished in a nuclear explosion that has devastated the city.
4. What does the weather box warn against? What are the warnings given by it?
Answer: The weather box on the front door warns about rainfall in the area, asks people to take necessary precautions like umbrellas and raincoats when going out. It gives regular updates about the weather and suitable clothing.
5. Explain the cleaning devices in the house.
Answer: The house has tiny robot mice that mechanically emerge from the walls as per schedule to swiftly clean up any dust particles or rubbish lying inside the house to keep things tidy.
6. Where was the lonely house standing? Why was it alone?
Answer: The house was standing all alone in the destroyed city of Allendale in California. There was nothing else left standing since the entire city had been flattened by a nuclear explosion that this house miraculously survived.
7. Whose photographs were affected in the catastrophe? Which fire spots are mentioned that still remained?
Answer: The blackened exterior walls still retained silhouette photographs of the former McClellan family members – a man mowing the lawn, a woman bending to pick flowers and children playing with a ball.
8. What does the description of the house tell you about the family and their relationship to nature?
Answer: The remnants of garden and presence of nature photographs indicate the McClellan family had an inclination and attachment towards nature despite relying extensively on modern technology and automation.
9. Why is the dog very thin covered in sores? What happens to it?
Answer: The pet dog is emaciated and covered in sores indicating it has been impacted severely by the radioactive nuclear fallout in the area. Also it might not have eaten for days. It soon dies and its body is mechanically disposed of into the incinerator.
10. Which entertainment activities for the members of the family were arranged by the house’s devices?
Answer: For the entertainment of absent family members, the automatic house devices set up features like bridge tables, music system, glowing nursery walls with moving images of animals.
11. What was to be done at 6, 7, 8 pm?
Answer: The dinner dishes manipulated like magic tricks, and in the study a click. In the metal stand opposite the hearth where a fire now blazed up warmly, a cigar popped out, half an inch of soft grey ash on it, smoking, waiting.
12. How did the house catch fire? How did it try to save itself?
Answer: A windstorm causes a tree to crash into the kitchen window, toppling over cleaning fluids that shatters over the stove fire. The fire instantly begins. The desperate house tries using sprinklers, sprays and extinguishers but ultimately fails to save itself from the raging fire.
Long Answer Questions
1. What is the significance of the title of the story?
Answer: The title “There Will Come Soft Rains” is taken from Sara Teasdale’s poem which talks optimistically about nature continuing to thrive beautifully even after humans have destroyed themselves completely. Using this poem’s title signifies that despite humans wrecking devastating destruction through advanced technology like nuclear weapons, nature and life will ultimately ensure and go on. It is an ironic comment on humanity’s self-destruction.
2. Comment on the ending of the story.
Answer: The ending shows the final irony of the house’s advanced technology and devices trying so hard to preserve the house but ultimately failing pathetically against the raw elemental power of nature in the form of wind and fire. This is evident in only a lone wall surviving the fire, which continues to repeat the date endlessly without any purpose, just like the technology had continued to function for no inhabitants. The ending signifies nature’s supremacy over humanity’s supposedly advanced scientific developments.
3. Why are there no human characters? Describe some personified characters in the story.
Answer: There are no human characters left alive in the story after the nuclear explosion which has annihilated everything. Instead, the house and its various devices like the cleaning mice and the speaking voice are personified vividly, curiously still carrying on the activities meant for serving humans despite there being no humans left alive for whom the breakfast is prepared, beds warmed or nursery entertained. This heightens the irony showing technology pointlessly serving no real purpose though seeming alive.
4. Discuss the literary devices used in the story.
Answer: Many literary devices like personification are used to lend lifelike, animated qualities to inanimate things like the house which is described using metaphors and nerve, vein, capillary imagery as if it were a living organism. The mice are personified as getting angry. Besides, allusions, irony, ominous tone etc are used to highlight the overarching message about horrors of technological destruction and how our advanced devices fail against nature’s power.
5. What is the relevance of the poem with the same title in this story? How does it help to deal with the theme more effectively?
Answer: Sara Teasdale’s poem with an optimistic message about nature cheerfully enduring and thriving despite humanity wrecking complete destruction of itself is clearly relevant to the story’s theme regarding the self-destructive potential of technology. The poem’s inclusion at the end where it is recited as the house burns down ironically yet chillingly highlights the helplessness of technology in preserving human legacy against the formidable power of elemental forces of nature like fire. Thus the poem helps underscore the theme effectively.
1. What day and year does the story take place?
A. August 4, 2026 B. August 5, 2026 C. December 25, 2025 D. January 1, 2027
Answer: A. August 4, 2026
2. What happened to the city around the one remaining house?
A. It was abandoned B. It was flooded C. It was bombed D. It decayed over time
Answer: C. It was bombed
22. What defensive mechanisms does the house employ?
A. Passwords and alarms B. Electric fences and cameras C. Toxic chemicals and traps D. Locked doors and shut windows
Answer: D. Locked doors and shut windows
23. What starts the fire in the kitchen?
A. An electrical fault B. Unattended cooking C. Knocked over solvents D. Damaged wiring
Answer: C. Knocked over solvents
Extra questions and answers
1. What time does the story begin at? What activities are happening in the house at that time?
Answer: The story begins at seven o’clock in the morning. At that time, the voice-clock sings and announces the time. The breakfast stove is making breakfast foods like eggs, bacon, and toast. The weather box gives the weather report and clothing suggestions.
2. What date does the voice from the ceiling announce? What details does it give about that date?
Answer: The voice announces that “Today is August 4, 2026.” It also states that it is Mr. Featherstone’s birthday and the anniversary of Tilita’s marriage.
16. Do you sympathise more with the humans or technology in the story? Defend your view using textual support.
Answer: I feel much more sympathy for the humans described in the story. The McClellan family living in the house were likely innocent everyday people living normal lives before being killed in the sudden nuclear disaster that destroyed the entire city, something that was no fault of their own. The technology left behind in the house, while impressive and advanced, shows no comprehension of their deaths or the loss of human life, and instead continues soullessly going through the motions. The humans had helplessness forced on them while the technology seems indifferent. The family’s tragic silhouettes etched on the walls elicit more sympathy than the various cleaning devices and appliances left behind.
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