What is the main message for the story "All Summer in a Day" by Ray Bradbury?

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rmhope eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The story "All Summer in a Day" is a futuristic story set on the planet Venus. Although "rocket men and women" from Earth have settled on Venus, they must live primarily underground because the climate is not suitable to be out of doors. Thunderstorms and rain are constant, except for about an hour once every seven years when the sun comes out and the rain stops. Margot, one of the schoolchildren, is the only one who remembers having seen the sun because she came to Venus from Earth when she was four. For this and other reasons, her classmates view her as "other" from them and tease and bully her. On the day of the predicted sun appearance, they force her into a closet so she misses the chance to run outside and play in the sunshine.

The primary message of the story is a study in bullying. Several factors work together in the story to create the bullying that steals something from Margot that can never be replaced. First, the children's teacher is negligent; she not only left them unsupervised, allowing the children to lock Margot up, but she also let her own excitement keep her from properly accounting for all the children under her charge. Second, one boy starts the teasing Margot and pushing her simply because she is different. Third, none of the children stand up to him; instead, they assent to his teasing. Fourth, all the children work as a mob, giving in to peer pressure, to push Margot into the closet. No one breaks ranks to take Margot's side. Fifth, the children get distracted by the excitement so that they forget about Margot when they all run outside. This shows the trajectory of bullying--how it escalates from simple teasing to causing a person real emotional harm. Bradbury uses an interesting setting--Venus--to showcase a problem that is ubiquitous in children on Earth, namely, bullying.