How did the geography of Venus change when the sun came out in All Summer in a Day?

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paepin eNotes educator| Certified Educator

All Summer in a Day is a short science fiction story written by Ray Bradbury, originally published in 1954. The story introduces a group of kids living on Venus, which is dominated by rainfall and the absence of the sun. In the story, Venus only received sunlight for two hours every seven years (note: not scientifically accurate).

In the beginning of the story, Bradbury introduces the planet's weather and geography:

It had been raining for seven years; thousands upon thousands of days compounded and filled from one end to the other with rain, with the drum and gush of water, with the sweet crystal fall of showers and the concussion of storms so heavy they were tidal waves come over the islands. A thousand forests had been crushed under the rain and grown up a thousand times to be crushed again.

In the story, most children (aged about 9) had only ever experienced life on Venus, but some people remembered the environment of Earth. Margot, a transfer student, remembered the sunlight she experienced on Earth. Her experience, which differed from that of her peers, opened her up to criticism from her friends. In fact, Margot's experience depicts how important geography is to Bradbury's story for its ability to drive social interactions:

And then, of course, the biggest crime of all was that she had come here only five years ago from Earth, and she remembered the sun and the way the sun was and the sky was when she was four in Ohio.

The story built to a moment in which the children were finally (for the first time) able to experience the sun. Bradbury took this opportunity to further describe the geography of Venus:

They stopped running and stood in the great jungle that covered Venus, that grew and never stopped growing, tumultuously, even as you watched it. It was a nest of octopi, clustering up great arms of fleshlike weed, wavering, flowering in this brief spring. It was the color of rubber and ash, this jungle, from the many years without sun. It was the color of stones and white cheeses and ink, and it was the color of the moon.

By the end of the story, Bradbury had introduced the environment of Venus, teased the story (and the characters) with a two-hour glimpse of the sun, and took the sun away again to conclude the story. Although the geography itself did not change in the story, it played a central role for the characters.