All Summer in a Day

by Ray Bradbury

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What are some literary devices used in Ray Bradbury's "All Summer in a Day"?

Literary devices used in Ray Bradbury's "All Summer in a Day" include similes, foreshadowing, and imagery. When describing the sun, Margot claims that it is "like a penny," which is an example of a simile, or comparison using the words like or as. Margot's plight of being locked in the closet is foreshadowed by the children's earlier unkindness to her. The vivid image of the Venusian jungle is a great example of imagery at work.

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Bradbury is known for his use of literary devices, which give a lyrical, poetic quality to his work. This story is drenched in literary devices. These include the following.

Dialogue: Dialogue characterizes the children and lends a sense of immediacy, as if we are overhearing a scene. The opening dialogue builds suspense with a series of questions and answers that make us wonder what is going on:





The opening is an example of a literary device known as in media res, or starting in the middle of the action. We start in the middle an exchange of dialogue that at first makes no sense to us.

Anaphora: In anaphora, the same word or words are repeated at the beginning of consecutive lines. And example is the following:

It rained.

It had been raining...

Repetition: Repetition occurs when words are repeated over and over again to build a sense of excitement. An example is the following:

a thousand forests had been crushed under the rain and grown up a thousand times to be crushed again.

Polysyndeton. Bradbury also frequently uses polysyndeton, which is a series of conjunctions. One example is when Bradbury writes,

rain and rain and rain.

The device creates a breathless sense of anticipation, mimicking the excitement of the children.

Metaphor: The story is saturated in metaphor. Examples include the following:

the sweet crystal fall of showers and the concussion of storms so heavy they were tidal waves come over the islands.

Simile: The sun is described as being "like a lemon." The children are "like a feverish wheel, all tumbling spokes."

Imagery: story is awash in imagery. For example, we can visualize what Margot looks like from the following:

Margot stood alone. She was a very frail girl who looked as if she had been lost in the rain for years and the rain had washed out the blue from her eyes and the red from her mouth and the yellow from her hair.

Alliteration: Another way Bradbury creates a sense of rhythm is through alliteration:

Now she stood, separate, staring ...

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First things first: what are literary devices? These are techniques that authors use to express themselves in an artistic or memorable way. One example is similes, which are comparisons using the words like or as. Another type of literary device is called foreshadowing, and this is where an indication or warning is given about something that will happen later in the story. The final literary device that I will mention is imagery, which is descriptive language that is used to paint a picture in the reader's mind.

A number of similes can be found in this great story. The first one is close to the beginning, when the children, who are anticipating seeing the sun for the first time that they will ever remember, are "pressed to each other like so many roses, so many weeds." This provides a delightful image of children sandwiched together at the window, waiting for the rain which has been falling for seven years to stop. When Margot, the only child in the class to have really experienced the sun before, attempts to describe it, she uses two similes, comparing the sun to "a penny" and "a fire in the stove."

For the duration of the sun being out on this memorable day, Margot finds herself locked in a closet. Her classmates, who had locked her in, simply forgot about her when the sun appeared. This unfortunate incident is foreshadowed earlier in the story when Margot's classmates are unkind to her and refuse to believe her descriptions of the sun. The cruelty that they display in imprisoning her is foreshadowed by their earlier unkindness.

Discussing colors can be a great way of introducing imagery to a story. Ray Bradbury uses this to great effect when describing the color of the Venusian jungle.

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.

While this description does not create an image that is necessarily attractive, it creates a vivid image that one can see in one's mind's eye, and this is the purpose of imagery.

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Some of the devices Ray Bradbury uses repeatedly in his short story are similes, metaphors, hyperbole, and asyndeton. Bradbury uses numerous similes when describing the children and the sun. Describing how the children press together to look out the window, he says they are "like so many roses, so many weeds." Later the children are "like a feverish wheel," "like animals escaped from their caves," "like so many stakes," and "like leaves before a new hurricane." The sun is "like a lemon," "like a fire," "like a penny," and "like a warm iron."

Metaphors are used to describe the rain. It is compared to tidal waves, a "tatting drum," and to clear beads from a necklace that fall on the roof and disappear. Margot is metaphorically described as an "old photograph dusted from an album" and a ghost. Bradbury compares the stopping of the rain to film that suddenly gets ripped from the projector and replaced with a still photograph. Metaphors used to describe the Venus jungle include "a nest of octopi, clustering up great arms of fleshlike weed," "rubber," "mattresses,"and "white cheeses." The silence that the children enjoy during the hour of sunshine is compared to a sea. 

Hyperbole is used in the following phrase:  "the gigantic sound of the rain falling in tons and avalanches, everywhere and forever."

Bradbury often uses asyndeton, putting phrases together without conjunctions, to give his writing energy. Here is an example:  "Lightning struck ten miles away, five miles away, a mile, a half mile." Here is another example: "a film concerning an avalanche, a tornado, a hurricane, a volcanic eruption." 

Bradbury packs his little story full of various literary devices, making it more enjoyable to read. 

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