All Summer in a Day

by Ray Bradbury

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What is the central conflict of "All Summer in a Day"?

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The central conflict of the story "All Summer in a Day" is an external Man vs. Man conflict between Margot and her cruel classmates, who bully her because she is different.

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The central conflict in this story is between the individual and society. Margot's deepest longing is to enjoy the hour of sunshine that emerges once every seven years on the planet Venus. Margot's classmates, however, long to punish her for being different and impulsively decide to deny her this pleasure.

Margot difference arises because she came to Venus later than the other children. They left earth before they were old enough to remember the sun. She, in contrast, remembers sunshine and misses it acutely. She is depressed and miserable and doesn't want to join the other children in their games.

The others resent her because she is different. They envy her because she can remember and talk about what the sun is like. Although she is simply expressing what she knows, the others think she is acting as if she is superior. They want to put her in place. As such, they lock her in a windowless closet when the sun comes out. They are so thrilled by the sun that they forget about her until it starts to rain again.

The story shows how envy and the sense of another being different can turn basically decent people (or children) into a mob that inflicts cruelty on a vulnerable individual.

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The central conflict in this story is between Margot and her classmates. The primary difference between Margot and her classmates, and the reason they harbor such hatred and jealousy towards her, is that she spent part of her life on Earth, and has firsthand experience of sunshine, whereas for the children born and raised on Venus, this is to be the first experience of the sun that they will actually remember. Adding to this jealousy is the fact that while the ever-falling Venusian rain is the foreseeable future for the other kids, Margot’s parents are planning to take her back to Earth.

The conflict between Margot and her classmates had been brewing for some time, with violence having been threatened by at least one of her classmates. On the day when the sun is set to make its only appearance in seven years, this conflict reaches its crescendo. Amid doubts as to whether or not the sun will actually appear, Margot’s classmates lock her in a closet far from where her cries might be heard by a teacher.

While Margot remains locked up, the other children enjoy the miraculous appearance of the sunshine, having forgotten all about their prisoner. The central conflict resolves after the downpour has resumed and one of the children remembers that Margot is imprisoned.

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The primary conflict in Bradbury's "All Summer in a Day" is considered an external Man vs. Man conflict between Margot and her cruel, insensitive classmates. In the story, Margot is an unpopular, odd girl, who is viewed as an outcast because she spent her childhood on Earth and can remember the sunshine. Unlike her peers, who were born on the rainy, gloomy planet Venus, Margot recalls the sun and poetically describes its beauty and warmth, which makes her peers jealous and angry. The children also learn that Margot's family plans on leaving the planet, which is something they envy.

In addition to Margot's privileged childhood and the opportunity to travel back to Earth, the children also treat her with contempt because she is shy, quiet, and odd. Margot is a timid introvert, who does not interact with her peers or join in their games. She is too depressed about her current situation to develop meaningful relationships with her classmates or go out of her way to make friends. As a result, her insensitive classmates bully her by criticizing her poem, interrupting her when she speaks, and physically abusing her. The cruel children end up locking Margot inside the classroom closet on the one and only day the sun shines on Venus. Margot is too weak and vulnerable to defend herself against her peers and misses the rare chance to enjoy the sunshine.

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The central conflict of the story is that Margot does not fit in with the other children.

The basic situation is that it has been raining on Venus for seven years.  The children, who are nine years old, do not remember ever seeing the sun.  The sun is scheduled to come out, so the kids are very excited.  Margot is excited too, but she is a child who just doesn’t fit in.

Margot is from Earth, and the other children are from Venus.  In addition to that, Margot is delicate and sensitive and just doesn’t associate with the other kids.

They turned on themselves, like a feverish wheel, all tumbling spokes. Margot stood alone. 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 other kids tease Margot and don’t understand her. They are envious of her, and like many kids they turn that envy to cruelty.  When the class is preparing for the sun to come out, the children tease Margot for the poem she wrote.  She remembers the sun, and that really eats at them.

When the teacher leaves the room just as the sun is about to come out, the conflict comes to a head.

"Get away !" The boy gave her another push. "What’re you waiting for?"

Then, for the first time, she turned and looked at him. And what she was waiting for was in her eyes.

The boy tells Margot it was all a joke, and suggests they lock her in the closet.  He is using her desperation and expectation against her, even though all of the children want the same thing.  They are all ramped up, and need a target for their energy and aggression.  Margot is an easy target.

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