We were given two different Ray Bradbury poems to read and analyze, the first being “The Veldt” and the other “There Will Come Soft Rains”. Ray Bradbury is an American author and screenwriter who many believe to have defined the science fiction genre. Both of these poems were written in the 1950s and take place much further in the future “There Will Come Soft Rains” taking place on August 4 2026 for example. In both of these futuristic worlds technology is shown to be greatly advanced but with the progress comes newer more complex problems. For “The Veldt” the problems came in the form of parents losing control of their children to technology. Obviously the major issue of “There Will Come Soft Rains” is the annihilation of everyone. It is clear that Bradbury has a fear of what is to come with all of these great technological advances. I think these poems are meant to make people sit back and wonder if it’s really worth it to push innovation to its limit. Yes there are great things that come with these advancements in science like the veldt and the house that does all your chores yet the people are suffering.
In “There Will Come Soft Rains,” Bradbury sets the scene of a futuristic home where everything is fully automated and human labor is no longer required. The story goes through a day of the house running as it would normally would yet there is something odd, no people are being mentioned. It isn’t until the family dog walks into the house that we realize something catastrophic has happened and it is implied that nuclear war was the downfall of society. This is a reasonable world view for Bradbury at the time because of the fear of nuclear war with the Soviet Union at the time. After the dog collapses and dies it is disposed of into an incinerator which is likened to a false god from the bible. In the afternoon the house begins to read out a poem called ‘There Will Come Soft Rains’ by Sara Teasdale. It is a poem about ‘wartime’ which states what the world would be like if ‘mankind perished utterly’. To summarize it, the world would move on as usual and it would not be concerned with the falling of man in the slightest. The end of the poem is the house going up in flames and being destroyed with only the mechanical voice remaining to announce the new date over and over again.
“Why is it so important that the house be destroyed in the end of this poem?”
“The Veldt” in my eyes is a much darker poem and one that really made me uncomfortable. The poem is based around this family that lives in a home where everything is done for them and the kids have this really great “VR” room. The family refers to this room as the nursery which is ironic because it literally ends up raising these kids and eventually taking them from their parents. As the story progresses the parents become increasingly worried about their kids having these dark thoughts because the nursery continues to show a scary savanna scene where lions are feasting. Eventually a psychiatrist is called in and tries to help these kids but to no avail. Finally George the father decides that there has been enough and starts turning off all the appliances and says the family will be getting a change of scenery. This sends the kids especially Peter into a rage and Peter tells his father he wishes that he was dead which foreshadows what is to come. Right before the family is about to leave the kids are able to make their father activate the nursery one last time and end up tricking their parents to get inside. Lions then eat their parents and after the kids go into the nursery to have a picnic. The end of the poem is a conversation between the kids and David the psychiatrist in which he asks them where their parents are. They reply they’ll be coming soon and david sees the lions finish eating and move to the watering hole.
Why do you think Bradbury included so much foreshadowing in this poem?