What would the world be like if mankind disappeared? This is the theme of Ray Bradbury's story "There Will Come Soft Rains". All of the characters in the story are machines, which through personification take the place of human characters. The theme of man's destruction reverberates throughout the story. Bradbury uses personification to describe the mechanical creations of man that eventually lead to the story's theme of the destruction of mankind.
There are no human characters at all in the story; instead, there are machines with human characteristics. Miller notes that personification is constantly used to describe the house's actions (1). This is seen in the first line of the story," In the living room the voice-clock sang, Tick-tock, seven o'clock, time to get up, seven o' clock! as if it were afraid that nobody would" (Bradbury 76). The distress of the voice-clock gives it a humanoid impression, which allows it to take the place of human characters.
Another interesting example of personification is seen in the way that Bradbury describes the robotic mice. "Behind it whirred angry mice, angry at having to pick up mud, angry at inconvenience" (Bradbury 77). However, machines are incapable of feelings. Hicks observes that readers are reminded that the rodent readers are mechanical, and that feelings-"those highly praised human emotions"-cannot exist in machines (234). In fact, there is only one living character in the whole story. As Jennifer Hicks points out, the only live being in the house is the dog, who enters mid-story (234). The dog is not very seemly. "The dog, once huge and fleshy, but now gone to bone and covered with sores, moved in and through the house, tracking mud" (Bradbury 77). It is pathetic and dying, much like the human race.
Life after the destruction of...