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Free Example of Analysis of 'There Will Come Soft Rain' Essay

A short science fiction story 'There Will Come Soft Rains' by Ray Bradbury is one of the most famous works of this writer that came out in the era of everybody’s concern about the devastating effects of nuclear force. The story has much in common with Gothic literature and it includes the basic Gothic elements; however it also has some distinctive features and cannot be numbered among traditional Gothic stories. As for the Southern Gothic fiction, it is a sub-genre of Gothic literature that reached its height in the middle of the twentieth century in the USA. Some of its elements can also be found in Ray Bradbury’s story.

The Gothic setting is mostly an isolated and abandoned place chosen by the writer to show the deterioration of the world as such. Southern Gothic writing generally portrays decayed claustrophobic settings as well. The scene in 'There Will Come Soft Rains' by Ray Bradbury would be absolutely Gothic, if it were not set in a computer-controlled empty house without any residents in the near future, 2026. Only the silhouettes of a couple and their children are burned on the west face of the house. The place even causes some sense of entrapment as there is no rescue from the tragedy.

The Gothic Atmosphere in the Fiction Story 'There Will Come Soft Rains'

You can feel a Gothic atmosphere of suspense and mystery in the story. Something queer and inexplicable is in the air. The events are sinister and a Gothic hero is always threatened by some mysterious forces. When you start reading Ray Bradbury’s story, you cannot realize that there will be no people in the story at all. Here, the house lives the life of its own, until it is finally ruined in a fire.

There are some core elements which place emphasis on the general mood of mystery, danger and gloom. The reader hears the sounds of the clock ticking in an empty room, a hissing sigh of a stove, rain tapping on the empty house and echoing. Even the startled birds are flying off. There are lights in abandoned rooms where doors suddenly slam shut. All this is definitely Gothic. However, there is no exploration through the subconscious, polarity of good and evil, or exploring the psychology of human existence, peculiar to Southern Gothic writing.

The Gothic atmosphere is only created by a certain selection of appropriate vocabulary. Such adjectives as hissing, twinkling, whistling, shivering, hysterically yelping and others turn the story 'There Will Come Soft Rains' into a mysterious, surprising and partially Gothic one.

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One of the key characteristics of Southern Gothic tradition is grotesque. It envisages less frequent use of supernatural elements but portrays more disturbed, even delusional, personalities. Grotesque is used by Gothic writers to reveal obnoxious aspects of society and show universal truths. Rey Bradbury also aims at making the humanity open their eyes. He provides a glimpse of reality, illuminating the threats and devastating effects of nuclear war and the possible course of events in case of nuclear bombing.

However, the Gothic story always stipulates for a sense of fear. Bradbury’s story is a lot lighter and contains no despair or pessimism. Even after all people vanish, a mechanical voice still chimes the sorrowful and cruel rhyme by Sara Teasdale. Even when the humanity dies out, everything will remain the same. There will be soft rains, birds’ songs, the smell of the ground and the garden blossom, but nobody will recollect the terrible war. The writer alerts but does not believe in the dark future. A man can be killed, destroyed but not defeated! This social optimism is a feature that sets Ray Bradbury’s short story apart from Gothic literature. 

Code: Sample20

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