The Long Rain - Symbolism


Parallelism in "The Long Rain"
I think that the setting in the short story "The Long Rain" is a parallel to reality. This short story is set on the planet of Venus, where the rain never stops. The scene is pale and bleak. There are dark clouds rumbling across the sky. Everything is colored in a shade of gray, except for the bright blue lightning.
The story begins with a group of men, led by a lieutenant, who are trying to find their way to a sundome. Sundomes are buildings build with a source of light and heat resembling a sun. These are the only dry, safe, and warm places on the rainy planet. I think that the sundomes in the story represent the goal that everyone is trying to achieve. This could be happiness, heaven, or just a moment of peace. Throughout the entire story this is what the men are trying to get to.
Soon the lieutenant?s compass is thrown off by a huge electrical storm and the men find themselves back at their crashed rocket. Soon the storm is upon them, and there is nowhere to hide. The author describes the storm as a giant roaring monster a mile long and half a mile wide with thousands of electric blue lightning bolts for legs, and wherever it stepped trees burned and fell. The lieutenant orders his men to lie down on the ground to avoid the lightning. The men try to control their fear as the storm breaks on them, but despite the lieutenant?s efforts to keep the men calm and low to the ground one man decides to run. Soon the man is nothing more than black charred remains. At first this seems like a terrible and singular event, but as the story progresses we realize this is a daily occurrence on Venus. I believe that the storms represent the peril that we feel constantly lurking around the corner in our lives. I think the storm represents the life and death struggle we feel going on within ourselves sometimes.
In the story the rain keeps people awake for weeks and the monotony of the rain and the lack of sleep slowly drives them mad. The men would sometimes try to make hats from the local vegetation, but as is with all plants on Venus the leaves always rotted within seconds. I think the rain symbolizes the hassles that everyone goes through each day which, every once in awhile, catches up to us in the form of workload or stress. Sometimes in life we make efforts to stop these things, but like quickly rotting leaves our plans soon unravel.
As the men get closer to the sun dome they lose more and more men to the madness. Soon there is no one left but the lieutenant, and he has even had to leave his best friends behind to be claimed by the storm. Eventually he makes his way to his goal, the sundome, but even with his victory over the planet there is a heavy price. He has lost all of his men; most if not all of his friends are now dead. This also parallels reality in that even with our victories we almost always lose something.
I do not think the author intended to make this a parallel to life on Earth, but I do think that all good stories need the references to life to let the reader identify with the protagonist.