Teaching Setting in Bradbury's "There Will Come Soft Rains"
It was my first year teaching and Mr. Brogologadu sat in the back of the room writing my teacher evaluation. Things were going well until Sam Stanlankadanka in the third row asked a question. "Mr. Lackstonadoo," he said, "These are great Ray Bradbury lessons and the stories are pretty good, but why are you teaching setting? When will I ever use this?"
I could have said that a working knowledge of literary terms is necessary in a literature class much like a knowledge of tools would be necessary in an auto mechanics class. I could have explained how analyzing literature develops critical thinking skills, communication skills, and writing skills--important skills in the real world.
Instead, I started shaking and crying, collpased, and peed my pants. Mr.Brogologadu fired me on the spot and this lesson on teaching setting has remained dormant ever since.
Lesson Plan on Setting
In Ray Bradbury's "There Will Come Soft Rains, setting is the most crucial element. Help students understand its importance with these procedures:
- Discuss the elements of science fiction. Be sure to mention that in science fiction, setting has no boundaries.
- Create a chart on the board and have students copy it. The chart should include the following:
- three columns
- Label column 1 Time of Day.
- Label column 2 What Seems Ordinary?
- Label column 3 What Seems Unusual?
- at least 5 rows
- three columns
- As you read the story, find five examples where Bradbury explicitly gives the time.
- Write the time in the left hand column.
- Write what seems ordinary in the middle column. Use as many specific details as possible.
- Write what seems unusual in the right column. Use as many specific details as possible.
- After the chart is completed, assign an essay or a paragraph analyzing setting. Use the following prompts, if necessary:
- In "There Will Come Soft Rains", Bradbury uses setting to establish the premise of the story.
- In a one page essay, analyze the setting by comparing what seems normal to what seems unusual.
- Be sure to use specific details from the story to support your opinions.
- How would the story be different if the setting were ___________________
(Choose a random setting, such as the Dominican Republic next summer, or a golf course in Canada, or anything else that strikes your fancy.).