All Summer in a Day

by Ray Bradbury
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What is your reaction to the way the other children treat Margot in "All Summer in a Day"?

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Unfortunately, bullying is very common among schoolchildren, and there is reason to believe it would be so even in space.

Bullying is a significant problem in schools.  While I would like to say that I would never expect a group of children to act as the ones on Venus did,...

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Unfortunately, bullying is very common among schoolchildren, and there is reason to believe it would be so even in space.

Bullying is a significant problem in schools.  While I would like to say that I would never expect a group of children to act as the ones on Venus did, the truth is that children are often cruel to each other.  The situation in the story does not surprise me.

The story takes place on Venus.  In Bradbury’s version of Venus, it rains almost all the time.  In fact, it has been raining for seven years.  It is a class of nine year olds, so they would have been toddlers when it last stopped raining.  Not many people have vivid memories of something that happened when they were two.

Any time a child is different, he or she is subject to bullying.  It is just a fact of life, I guess.  Margot was different because she was from Earth, and had not been on Venus for her whole life.  She stood out in other ways too.

They edged away from her, they would not look at her. She felt them go away. 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.

Margot just never fit in.  It could be that the other children did not accept her because they were jealous of the fact that she was from Earth, or it could be that she found the children from Venus different and did not engage with them.  Either way, Margot was not one of them.  She did not accept them, and they did not accept her.

On the one day the sun went out, Margot was just as excited as the other children.  She remembered the sun, butthey did not.  They became extra angry at her because she said she remembered it.  Seeing the sun again meant so much to all of them.

Then one of them gave a little cry.

"Margot!"

"What?" "She’s still in the closet where we locked her."

"Margot."

They stood as if someone had driven them, like so many stakes, into the floor. They looked at each other and then looked away.

When the children decided to lock Margot in the closet, they were behaving immaturely and cruelly.  It was a terrible prank.  Being locked in the closet meant that she would miss the one day in years that she had a chance to see the sun. 

The children were really not paying attention.  They put Margot in the closet and forgot about her, but that does not excuse what they did.  The children bullied Margot, and their bullying likely resulted in significant psychological trauma to them and to her.  She would feel the pain as the victim, and they would never forget what they did to her.

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