All Summer in a Day

by Ray Bradbury

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How does the setting of "All Summer in a Day" influence the plot? Would the story exist with less extreme Venus weather?

Quick answer:

The setting of "All Summer in a Day," a storm on Venus, influences the events of the story as Margot and her classmates await the appearance of the Sun. Margot can recall the sun and her classmates cannot, and their distrust of her as an outsider drives the main conflict of the story.

Expert Answers

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In order to develop your explanation of Ray Bradbury’s “All Summer in a Day”, it would help to first define the plot, setting, conflict, and resolution.

Setting (time and place): This story takes place in the distant future in a classroom on Venus. On Bradbury’s version of Venus, there are constant thunderstorms, and the Sun only appears for one hour every seven years.

Plot (what happens): The story begins right before the Sun is about to appear for the first time in seven years. None of the children in the class can remember the sunshine, except for Margot, who moved to Venus from Earth five years prior. Margot remembers the Sun vividly and is looking forward to its reappearance. When she attempts to describe the Sun’s beauty to the other children, they accuse her of lying, bully her, and ultimately lock her in a closet. When the Sun does appear, the children are so excited to experience the phenomenon that they forget about Margot, and run outside to play. They do not remember about Margot until the rainstorms begin again and the Sun disappears. The students let her out of the closet with apparent shame and embarrassment; we are left to guess Margaret’s reaction.

Conflict (the problem): The main conflict in this story is that Margot is an outsider and she cannot convince the other students to trust her interpretation of the Sun, which both Margot and the reader know to be accurate. At the climax, the conflict between Margot and the other students escalates to the point that she is locked away and forgotten.

Resolution (the ending): Ultimately, the students learn that Margot’s memories were correct, and they are frozen with shame and embarrassment. We do not know whether Margot’s classmates learn from this experience, whether they apologize, or whether they accept Margot as a contributing member of their community. But in terms of the conflict, the students’ distrust of Margot is certainly resolved in that her description of the Sun is proven to be accurate. Once everything is defined, you can begin to explore whether you believe there would still be a story if Ray Bradbury’s Venus had less extreme weather. This opinion depends on your opinion of what the real “story” is in this piece.

Some questions to consider: Is this story specifically about Venus’s extreme weather, or is it about Margot's being an outsider? Would Margot’s classmates automatically like her more if the Sun came out more often, or would they still perceive her to be different, and would they bully her for these differences? Even without the extreme weather, do you think the students’ distrust of outsiders would lead them to eventually find something else to accuse her of lying about? Is this story so impactful because the Sun disappears, or because Margot missed out on the Sun? If she missed out on another amazing event because of her classmates’ bullying, would the story still feel impactful? Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what the “story” of this piece would be without extreme weather and thereby arrive at your own opinion.

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