The Breakdown of Humanity

Historical Line   – The Destruction of Humanity


  1. The Conquest of Gola (1931)
  2. There Will Come Soft Rains (1950)
  3. When It Changed (1973)
  4. Speech Sounds (1983)

I chose each of these texts because they are each about the break down of humanity and what it means to be human. In the “Conquest of Gola” the humans are invading the aliens or the “Golans”, but the reader is inclined to sympathize with the alien because the humans are invading a land that is not theirs to take. The humans are breaking down humanity by tying up the women and turning the men against them. The breakdown of humanity by men is also seen in “When It Changed”. Yet, in this instance, the men were or presumably would be more successful in taking over Whileaway. The women are happy and have adapted to their planet without men and have been for the 600 years men have been wiped off the planet. However, when the men reappear, the men’s view of Whileaway is that it is theirs to take and the women to procreate with – whether or not the women like it. In “There Will Come Soft Rains” a much different view of the destruction of humanity is seen when there is no humans. The automated house continues on and on every day, but there is no one to fill it. It gives a grim view of the reality we could face if nuclear wars happen. This story was written during the Cold War when “There Will Come Soft Rains” was not farfetched. “Speech Sounds” created a world that had suffered the effects of a disease that took away the ability to speak, read, and so on. The adaptations afterward were not glorious and the aggression and violence among humans was unbelievable. In all of these texts the messages have been effective and complex. Yet, I do not believe that the destruction of humanity was portrayed significantly better as time went on, nor do I believe it worsened. I think that the historical context of each text is very telling to the text. The later texts, however are able to incorporate a bit more because they are able to incorporate past events into their stories.



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