All Summer in a Day

by Ray Bradbury

Start Free Trial

What is the imagery in "All Summer in a Day" by Ray Bradbury?

Quick answer:

Examples of imagery in "All Summer in a Day" are abounding and can be found in his descriptions of Margot and in the rich descriptions of Venus's incessant rainfall and jungle in bloom. This imagery-rich style is one of the critical features that defines Bradbury's authorial voice.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

It should be noted that Ray Bradbury, across his entire writing career, was a very imagery-intensive writer. "All Summer in a Day" is hardly unique in this respect. Whether one is speaking about novels like Fahrenheit 451or Something Wicked This Way Comes , fix-up novels...

This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

such asThe Martian Chronicles, or so many of his innumerable short stories, you will tend to find that same richly lyrical quality almost continuously present.

We see this in Bradbury's description of the planet Venus itself, with its heavy, unceasing rainfall (and Bradbury's evocative description of that rainfall), but his descriptive powers conjure a deeply visual impression of the planet's alien jungle as well:

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 stones and white cheeses and ink, and it was the color of the moon.

This description is joined by the description of the children playing within this jungle and feeling a shared sense of awe at the experience of being outside.

Like in so much of Bradbury's work, imagery appears to be almost omnipresent. In addition to his description of Venus itself, you can observe its use in his description of Margot, thin and frail, almost ghostlike in her quiet somberness:

She was an old photograph dusted from an album, whitened away, and if she spoke at all her voice would be a ghost. Now she stood, separate, staring at the rain and the loud wet world beyond the huge glass.

Bradbury thus uses imagery to convey the essential truths both his setting and the characters that inhabit it: in Margot's case, both her sense of isolation as well as her longing for the sun are primarily driven and advanced through the images Bradbury conjures regarding her, as we can observe in a passage like the following:

And this was because she would play no games with them in the echoing tunnels of the underground city. If they tagged her and ran, she stood blinking after them and did not follow. When the class sang songs about happiness and life and games her lips barely moved. Only when they sang about the sun and the summer did her lips move as she watched the drenched windows.

Bradbury tended to seek to use imagery with the aim of making his worlds and characters come to life in the imaginations of his readers. This imagery-focused and highly lyrical approach to prose is one of the central characteristics that defines his authorial voice.

Approved by eNotes Editorial
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

“All Summer in a Day” is the story of a group of children on Venus who gang up on a girl named Margot.  The story uses imagery to describe the setting and the characters.  Imagery helps drive home the theme of victimization.

Imagery is descriptive language that appeals to the five senses and the reader’s imagination to create a mental image for the reader.

Since the story takes place on the planet Venus, it is important for imagery to describe it.  The first thing that needs to be established is the prevalence of rain.  Bradbury uses repetition of the word “thousands” to make the reader feel the overwhelming presence of rain. 

[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.

He also uses imagery to reinforce the theme of isolation on the planet Venus. 

 A thousand forests had been crushed under the rain and grown up a thousand times to be crushed again. And this was the way life was forever on the planet Venus

People, described as “rocket men” live on Venus in a very isolated way.  Not only are they removed from earth, they also never get to see the sun and are closed in by rain.

Simile, a type of figurative imagery, is used to describe the children.

The children pressed to each other like so many roses, so many weeds, intermixed, peering out for a look at the hidden sun.

The children are compared to roses, and then weeds.  This foreshadows their lack of individualism, since they act as a mob, and demonstrates how they look innocent but are actually not.

Margot is different from the other kids.  Imagery in the story sets her apart.

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. 

The metaphor of Margot lost in the rain describes how she is different from the other kids, and how having seen the sun isolates her from them.

Approved by eNotes Editorial