Writing: Explaining the Literary Idea: Motif In a well-written paragraph with supporting evidence from the text, answer ONE of the following questions: •Choose one of the motifs from “The Things They Carried” and explain its significance. •Explain the juxtaposition of order against chaos in “There Will Come Soft Rains. ” Follow your teacher’s instructions to submit this assignment, and be sure to document your sources.
It is easy to imagine the complete chaos and utter despair of the aftermath of an atomic bomb explosion. While most of us have never experienced it, the various atomic bomb tests of the 1950s and 1960s, as well as the two bombs of World War Two, give us a good idea of what happened at the moment the bombs exploded. In “There Will Come Soft Rains”, the author gives us a detailed description of a house in the future, where virtually all household tasks are automated.
The house descriptions are so detailed, they seem mundane and very monotonous. An example: “In the kitchen the breakfast stove gave a hissing sigh and ejected from its warm interior eight pieces of perfectly browned toast, eight eggs sunny side up, sixteen slices of bacon, two coffees and two cool glasses of milk. ” And this contrasts mightily with what the author implies has happened: an atomic bomb has exploded, and this house is the only one left standing.
The juxtaposition of the orderly house and the destroyed, chaotic neighborhood around it paints a stark picture that, at first, makes the reader wonder what what is happening. The clues about what has happened come out in the sixth and seventh paragraphs: “The house stood alone in a city of rubble and ashes. This was the one house left standing. At night the ruined city gave off a radioactive glow which could be seen for miles”.
Then, the story causes the reader to think again: Is someone alive? Could anyone have survived? How is this house still functioning? Why is this house still functioning? But then, in the final paragraph, the house stops working and is destroyed by fire, despite all of its automation. All the while, the order of the house contrasts with the alluded-to chaos of the city, drawing the reader into the story, curious as to what will happen.