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VARIOUS TEXTS: Short story: THERE WILL COME SOFT RAINS by Rad Bradbury

Grundkurs Englisch
August 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains (short story 1950; excerpt) Ray Bradbury
The excerpt is the beginning of the short story.

In the living room the voice-clock sang. Tick-tock, seven o'clock, time to get up, time to get up, seven o'clock! As if it were afraid that nobody would. The morning house lay empty. The clock ticked on, repeating and repeating its sounds into the emptiness.
Seven-nine, breakfast time, seven-nine!
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.
"Today is August 4, 2026," said a second voice from the kitchen ceiling, "in the city of Allendale, California." It repeated the date three times for memory's sake. "Today is Mr. Featherstone's birthday. Today is the anniversary of Tilita's marriage. Insurance is payable, as are the water, gas, and light bills."
Somewhere in the walls, relays clicked, memory tapes glided under electric eyes.
Eight-one, tick-tock, eight-one o'clock, off to school, off to work, run, run, eight-one!
But no doors slammed, no carpets took the soft tread of rubber heels. It was raining outside. The weather box on the front door sang quietly: "Rain, rain, go away; rubbers, raincoats for today..." And the rain tapped on the empty house, echoing.
Outside the garage chimed and lifted its door to reveal the waiting car. After a long wait the door swung down again.
At eight-thirty the eggs were shriveled and the toast was like stone. An aluminum wedge scraped them into the sink, where hot water whirled them down a metal throat which digested and flushed them away to the distant sea. The dirty dishes were dropped into a hot washer and emerged twinkling dry.
Nine-fifteen, sang the clock, time to clean.
Out of warrens in the wall, tiny robot mice darted. The rooms were acrawl with the small cleaning animals, all rubber and metal. They thudded against chairs, whirling their mustached runners, kneading the rug nap, sucking gently at hidden dust. Then, like mysterious invaders, they popped into their burrows. Their pink electric eyes faded. The house was clean.
Ten o'clock. The sun came out from behind the rain. 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.
Ten-fifteen. The garden sprinklers whirled up in golden founts, filling the soft morning air with scatterings of brightness. The water pelted window-panes, running down the charred west side where the house had been burned evenly free of its white paint. The entire west face of the house was black, save for five places. Here the silhouette in paint of a man mowing a lawn. Here, as in a photograph, a woman bent to pick flowers. Still farther over, their images burned on wood in one titanic instant, a small boy, hands flung into the air; higher up, the image of a thrown ball, and opposite him a girl, hands raised to catch a ball which never came down. The five spots of paint - the man, the woman, the children, the ball - remained. The rest was a thin charcoaled layer.

(536 words)
Quelle: Excerpt from The Martian Chronicles. New York: Doubleday. 1950; p. 48

Annotations:
l. 12 relay - electronic device for receiving signals and transmitting them again with greater strength
l. 14 tread - a manner or sound of walking
l. 17 to chime - to ring
l. 20 wedge - here: G: Schaber
l. 24 warren - a systern of holes and underground tunnels where wild rabbits live
to be acrawl - with to be full of animals moving slowly with their bodies close to or on the ground
l. 26 to knead - to press and stretch
l. 27 burrow - a hole or tunnel made in the ground and used as a horne by rabbits, foxes etc.
l. 33 to pelt - to fall very heavily
l. 34 to char - to become black by burning


TASKS
Work on three tasks. Task 1 and 2 are compulsory.
Choose one task from 3.


1. Sum up what is going on inside the house and what has happened to it. Do not write more than 150 words.

2. Analyze both the message of the given excerpt and the literary means the author uses to support this message.

3. A. Write a comment for your classmates in which you explain why you think it worthwhile dealing with the above text and other science fiction materials in class.
OR
B. Write a first part to the story in which you depict the events on August 3, 2026.

Write at least 500 words in 240 minutes.


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