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Bradbury's All Summer in a Day: Summary & Analysis

Bradbury's All Summer in a Day: Summary & Analysis
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Joshua Wimmer

Joshua holds a master's degree in Latin and has taught a variety of Classical literature and language courses.

Summer vacations are probably some of our most cherished experiences from childhood. Even so, learn just how much more we should probably appreciate them in this lesson, which features a synopsis and analysis of Ray Bradbury's 'All Summer in a Day.'

The Synopsis

When we're in school, summers never seem to last quite long enough. So, just imagine what it would be like if our summers only stuck around for an hour or so! Of course, with summers that short, we're not even talking about Alaska or Siberia, but the planet Venus, where Ray Bradbury set his short story in which colonists experience 'All Summer in a Day.'

The story opens on schoolchildren crowding around a window in their classroom as they wait for the heavy rain to slacken. It's noted that they're all nine years old, meaning that they would've been only two the last time the rain stopped, and the sun came out seven years ago. For Margot, a frail little girl ostracized by her classmates and the main character of the story, this means the other children wouldn't even be able to remember what seeing the sun was like, but she could.

In preparation for the coming summer, the class had spent the previous day studying the sun and writing about it. However, the children accuse Margot of not having written her poignant poem comparing the sun to a flower on her own. The truth is, though, Margot knows better than any of them what the sun's like, since her family came to Venus from Ohio only five years ago. Nevertheless, the other children claim that she can't remember the sun and treat the quiet, reserved little girl very cruelly.

With these sorts of social—and even mental issues— starting to develop for Margot, there have been rumors that her parents were planning to take her back to Earth. This apparently makes her classmates hate her even more, and as they're waiting by the window, they begin to play a terrible trick on Margot. They start by telling her the scientists were wrong in their predictions of when the sun would appear, which makes Margot start to panic. Her anxiety only escalates as the children forcibly carry her to a closet and lock her in. Darkly pleased with themselves, the classmates return as their teacher comes in to gather them for the event they've all been waiting for.

As the rain comes to full stop and the children's ears are filled with silence for the first time they can recall, a door slides open, and they rush out into the sunshine. They're almost oblivious to the teacher's warning that they only have two hours as they run through the rapidly growing foliage and enjoy the sun burning their skin. The children lose track of time in their playing and basking in the sunlight, and before they know it, sporadic rain drops have begun to fall again. With some of them even brought to tears, the children begin sadly returning to the school as the last rays of sunlight are replaced by rain clouds.

Once they're back inside, the Venusian storms start again in full force. Suddenly, one of the children remembers that they locked Margot in a closet before they went outside. The entire group is solemn and keeps their faces downturned as they return to the place they left Margot. And not even she speaks a word, as they slowly let her out of the closet and the story ends.

Analysis

What makes life worth living? Some of us might say raising children or doing our jobs and other duties. Others might say enjoying time with friends and family or even just taking the time to enjoy being alive. Whatever the case, it could probably be generally agreed that life is worth living because of all the experiences we encounter along the way. In 'All Summer in a Day,' Ray Bradbury sends the message of just how precious all these experiences are—whether we've actually been through them already or not.

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