Comparative Commentary of “There Will Come Soft Rains” and the Teasdale’s Poem
The short story “There Will Come Soft Rains” as well as the poem with the same title by Teasdale warns people of today about the chilling view of the future if the overconfidence in their immortality persists.
It is showing how insignificant our achievements on earth is – technology and weapons. In both of the plots, compared to human and technology, nature is described as the unrelenting force and ultimate survivor of the world. Human is illustrated as the weakest and most insignificant. It is nothing but a minor stain on the infinite earth, one that destroys itself in a second with its own creations.
Personification and paradox is mainly used as the writer’s tool to convey the message and theme. Comparing the language, the poem uses long continuing phrases and running lines in order to show the peace and calmness of nature. In contrast, the short story uses short phrases to build up a tense atmosphere and to show that a thousand things are happening at once. This contrasts the separate worlds that nature and men are in.
In nature, everything is calm and soft. In human society, everything is in war and chaos.It gives us an insight that peace may be the only way to survive in the world and not technology or war. Beautiful language is used in both writings to illustrate terrifying facts like the perish of mankind.
Both nature and technology are treated as humans to compare their power. The house that talks and sings represents technology while nature is represented as Spring in the poem and the fire and branches in the short story. Firstly, it describes how men see themselves as superior. They see themselves as “gods” by creating a perfect house with everything done automatically.
From the paradox talking about artificial nature on the walls of a nursery, we can see that humans actually tried to play the role of God the Creator by firstly destroying a forest and then desperately recreating it with “walls of glass”, “iron crickets” and the “aroma of animal spoors”. In their arrogance, people never seem to realize the thin tightrope that they are walking on. By personification, we can see from the short story that technology does everything that men can do and can be even more perfect.For instance, “In the kitchen the breakfast stove gave a hissing sigh and ejected from its warm interior eight pieces of perfectly browned toast, eight eggs sunnyside up, sixteen slices of bacon, two coffees, and two cool glasses of milk.
” Eventually, destruction of mankind came and it showed that technology was much more stronger. In the story, before the evacuation the man was mowing the lawn, the woman was picking flowers and the children were playing. The poem said “No one will know of war, not one will care at last when it is done.In just one titanic instant man’s very own creation – the nuclear bomb perished the whole of mankind.
This already gives us an idea of how weak human beings are when compared to technology. However, Mother Nature is still the one in charge on earth when contrasted with mankind and technology. A battle between nature and technology is illustrated. In the third stanza of the poem where it says, “Robins will wear their feathery fire whistling their whims on a low fenced-wire”, is actually foreshadowing that “feathery fire” will eventually destroy the house.
This already gives the hint that nature represented by fire is more superior to man-made technology. During the destruction of the house, the fire takes on a life of its own. The diction used to describe the fire gives it an air of intelligence and animal hunger just like a human. In the end, the house follows the footsteps of its masters and is overcome by one of the most primitive forces of nature- fire, wood and wind.
“The wind blew. The bough of a falling tree smashed the kitchen window.Cleaning solvent, bottled, crashed on the stove. ” Then, the personification of the house intensifies as the house “dies”.
“‘Fire! ‘ screamed voices. ‘Fire! ‘ water pumps shot down water from the ceilings. “This gives an effect that if both nature i. e.
fire and technology i. e. the house were humans and they were to fight then nature would certainly beat technology. Finally, the story and the poem suggests that we are not as significant to nature as we think we are.
There is a humble thought that our planet would survive quite well without our presence and that in just a short while after our extinction, it would almost be as if we had never existed at all. The poem focuses on nature and their unchanged existence without man. It shows how peaceful the world is without the existence of humans. As it is said in the poem – ” No one would mind, either bird nor tree if mankind perished utterly; and spring itself, when she woke at dawn, would scarcely know that we were gone.
It expresses the thought that in fact we, humans, are the most fragile. In the end technology remains, nature continues whereas humans are gone without much notice. The house continues with its daily chores barely knowing that its masters are gone.Although the house is destroyed, in the end a standing wall still remained with its voice repeating the date.
It proves that technology is stronger than mankind. It is not completely evacuated. Both the poem and the story then end with the beautiful dawn indicating the ultimate victory of the nature above men and technology.