What is the theme of "All Summer in a Day"?

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I would suggest that "All Summer in a Day" is a story about alienation and victimization, played out among schoolchildren in a Science Fiction setting. (This story takes place on the planet, Venus.)

The central character of this story is Margot, who is rejected and bullied by her...

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I would suggest that "All Summer in a Day" is a story about alienation and victimization, played out among schoolchildren in a Science Fiction setting. (This story takes place on the planet, Venus.)

The central character of this story is Margot, who is rejected and bullied by her classmates. She had only arrived on Venus five years earlier and thus has retained her memories of Earth. She has had difficulty adjusting to her new life on Venus, and this has left her as an outsider among the children.

In Bradbury's story, Venus is a planet of continuous rainfall, where the sun only comes out one day in all the year. On this particular day, the children lock Margot in a closet before going out to enjoy the sunlight.

The end of the story introduces one last element into this thematic texture. With the rain falling once again, the children return to the classroom (where Margot has been trapped for all that time). This final scene has a very subdued tone to it, as the children must face their own guilt and shame for the act of cruelty they had inflicted.

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The theme of “All Summer in a Day” is the cruelty of mob mentality.

Theme is the universal message of a story.  In the story, a group of schoolchildren live on the planet Venus with their “rocket men” parents.  Venus is a very rainy place.  In fact, the sun only comes out once every seven years, and even then it only stays out for two hours.

A group of children are anxiously waiting to see the sun.  A girl named Margot does not fit in with the group.  She is from Earth, and has only been on Venus for five years.  She remembers the sun, and she is timid and frail.

Margot is the only child in the story who has a name.  The other children are just a mob, described as “weeds” in the story.  The children turn on Margot when the sun does not come out, and they decide to lock her in a closet. 

As with many mobs, one boy starts the process but the other kids go along with it.

They surged about her, caught her up and bore her, protesting, and then pleading, and then crying, back into a tunnel, a room, a closet, where they slammed and locked the door.

The violence and savagery with which the children lock Margot in the closet contrasts with her timidity and frailty.  Margot is the “other” and the children are taking out their frustration on her because she is different, and because they are jealous that she has seen the sun.

They stood looking at the door and saw it tremble from her beating and throwing herself against it. They heard her muffled cries. Then, smiling, they turned and went out and back down the tunnel, just as the teacher arrived.  

The children smile because they have accomplished something in locking Margot up.  When they realize she missed the sun, they feel bad.  It does not say what happens when they let her out.

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In simplest terms, theme can be defined as the main message that the author is trying to get across. It is the main idea with a message. Friends might be a main idea but "friends always stick together" might be a theme. Mood can be defined as words that describe the way the story makes the reader feel or an attitude it projects. The mood of a story might be humorous, terrifying or triumphant.

The theme of "All Summer in a Day" might be described as isolation. This theme is portrayed in the character of Margot, who is not only an outcast child tucked away on the planet Venus but also an outcast to her peers. The other children with her on Venus also portray isolation, tucked away on a dark, rainy planet far from Earth and family. The fact that the author never explains why they are there, adds to the theme of isolation. The setting itself with the dark, dreary endless, rainy days helps the reader feel the theme in the form of a mood of loneliness and sadness. While the author writes briefly that the children are happy in the short time of sun, the overwhelming majority of the story's theme of isolation creates a mood of loneliness and sadness in the reader.

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