Ray Bradbury’s short story “There Will Come Soft Rains” is full of literary devices. That’s why I asked you (my students) to read it for class on the day we were going to talk about literary devices. We listed out several devices that Bradbury uses, and I’m going to write about a few here.
[There are a few things I want you to keep in mind while you’re reading this post. First, this is a loose example to help you if you are confused. I don’t expect your post to copy or mimic this. In fact, please don’t mimic it. Do your own thing. Also, you don’t have to write as much as I do here. Second, I’m only going to hit a couple of examples, but you are identifying at least five in your post. Third, your post will be on The Hunger Games.]
For me, the most prominent literary device that Bradbury uses is personification. While it is in some ways the central conceit of the story and therefore runs all the way through, I’ve chosen one example. Bradbury writes, “At eight-thirty, the eggs were shriveled and the toast was like stone. An aluminum wedge scraped them into the sink, where the hot water whirled them down a metal throat which digested and flushed them away to the distant sea” (1). In this passage, Bradbury gives the house the human characteristics of a eating and digesting, which is interesting because it emphasizes the fact that no one is there to eat the food the house makes. It makes the technology of the house and the absence of humans more strange.
Another device that Bradbury uses in this story is setting. He places the story in a specific town–“Allendale, California” (1)– on a specific date–“Today is August 4, 2026″ (1). Now, I know that this story comes from a larger collection of related short stories (The Martian Chronicles), and if I were reading the whole book, I would probably be able to find ways that this place and date are significant in the larger context. But even without that context, by assigning a specific place and date to this story, Bradbury has made it more real and immediate. This is really different than, say, opening a story with “Once upon a time” or “A long time ago in a galaxy far away,” because it gives the reader an immediate, concrete context for imagining the story not in the vague past and some unknown place, but in the real world that we live in. It makes his futuristic tale seem more possible.