All Summer In A Day Theme Essays

One thematic idea in Ray Bradbury's "All Summer in a Day" is that of the darkness of the unenlightened mind. 

In his short stories, Bradbury frequently uses imagery, such as that of the sun. Sun imagery is often representative of God and enlightenment. Because the children who have lived on Venus most of their lives have not seen the sun, they are limited in their perspectives. For this reason, they resent Margot's little verse that is...

One thematic idea in Ray Bradbury's "All Summer in a Day" is that of the darkness of the unenlightened mind. 

In his short stories, Bradbury frequently uses imagery, such as that of the sun. Sun imagery is often representative of God and enlightenment. Because the children who have lived on Venus most of their lives have not seen the sun, they are limited in their perspectives. For this reason, they resent Margot's little verse that is superior to theirs, even accusing her of not having written these lines:

I think the sun is a flower,
That blooms for just one hour. 

Further, in the darkness of their minds, they hate Margot for her memory of the experience of the heat and color of the sun, an experience that they were too young to remember because they came to Venus sooner than she. When the day arrives for the sun's appearance after seven years, one cruel boy pretends that it is not the day that the sun comes out. He declares that nothing is going to happen. In the absence of the teacher who would correct the boy, the others go along with him. The cruel boy seizes her, and the others assist him in putting Margot into a dark closet. They lock the door. When the sun comes out for an hour, the children run excitedly, pressing their fingers to their faces where the warm, golden rays touch them.

Then, wildly, like animals escaped from their caves, they ran and ran in shouting circles.

After the hour of sun ends, 

They looked at each other and then looked away. They glanced out at the world that was raining now. . . . They could not meet each other’s glances. Their faces were solemn and pale. They looked at their hands and feet, their faces down.

The light of the sun has given them self-knowledge and shown them the shamefulness of their actions in depriving Margot of the incredible experience that has just occurred. For they know now the truth of what Margot has said about the sun. In their enlightenment, the children realize the terrible wrong that they have committed against this girl because of the darkness of their own minds.

The main theme in “All Summer in a Day” by Ray Bradbury is bullying, which is caused by jealousy and envy. Interestingly enough, Ray Bradbury has chosen to explore this theme in the context of a future generation that has the chance to travel between planets as a consequence of evolution. Even there, in the fictional setting of Venus, after hundreds or thousands of years of human evolution, bullying is still present. This shows that, in Bradbury’s opinion, bullying others who are inferior is an element so deeply-rooted in human nature that it perpetuates across the centuries. A sub-theme of the short story is nostalgia and longing, which is illustrated by both Margot and her classmates.

Bullying

Generally, bullying means the use of force or verbal threats with the purpose of intimidating others and make them obey or feel inferior. Physical bullying is rarely common among adults; for them, bullying takes the form of verbal attacks – whose meaning is more or less hidden – and it is most of the times used in the workplace. Physical bullying is more dangerous when it comes to children, something which is also noticeable in “All Summer in a Day”.

In the short story, bullying takes multiple forms. First of all, bullying is generated by envy; children are envious that Margot spent her first four years on Earth, seeing the sun. In this case, bullying takes the form of mockery:

"It's like a penny," she said once, eyes closed.
"No it's not!" the children cried.
"It's like a fire," she said, "in the stove."
"You're lying, you don't remember!" cried the children.
 (p. 3, ll. 16-19)

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Nostalgia and longing

This theme is mostly illustrated by the character of Margot, although the collective character of the classmates can also be analyzed from this perspective. First, note that Margot is nostalgic about her years spent on Earth and that she longs to see the sun that she has enjoyed for such a long time. For her, nostalgia is so great that she begins to change physically, to look like “an old photograph dusted from an album” (p. 2, l. 26). This is why her parents probably agree with bringing the girl back to Earth to see a change in her.

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