All Summer in a Day

by Ray Bradbury

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What is the resolution to Ray Bradbury's "All Summer in a Day"?

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The resolution to Ray Bradbury's "All Summer in a Day" is that Margot is finally freed from the classroom closet, and her peers feel guilty for robbing her of the rare opportunity to experience sunshine. Margot is emotionally traumatized by the incident, and the children feel remorse and shame for their actions.

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The resolution in Ray Bradbury's short story "All Summer in a Day" comes with the final sentence:

They unlocked the door, even more slowly, and let Margot out.

The story is tightly plotted, with a series of climactic moments arranged with neat symmetry, as follows:

1. The children lock Margot in the closet.

2. The rains stops for the first time in seven years, and the sun comes out.

3. The rain starts again, and the children are driven indoors.

4. One of the children suddenly remembers Margot, who is still locked in the closet.

The entire time described in the title, therefore, passes with Margot locked in the closet, unable to see the sun. The silence behind the door at the end leads the reader to wonder what has happened to Margot, but the fact that the other children are able to let her out suggests that she is physically unscathed. Although this provides the technical resolution to the story, the problems of the children's cruelty and Margot's missed experience are left unresolved.

The story does, however, give a hint of a more permanent resolution in the future. There is a further symmetrical structure beyond the timeline of the story, in which Margot came from Earth, where she experienced summer, and may go back there again soon. If she does so, she will experience months of summer every year, and the two missed hours of summer on Venus will be of little importance, except for the puerile unkindness they represent.

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The resolution of a story takes place after the climax and is when the primary conflict is resolved. The resolution is also known as a denouement, which means "to untie." It typically takes place at the end of a story and is considered the solution to the plot. In Ray Bradbury's short story "All Summer in the Day," the primary external conflict is between Margot and her jealous, prejudiced classmates. Unlike her peers, who have spent their entire lives on the rainy planet Venus, Margot is a relative newcomer from Ohio and can remember the sun. Margot also has the opportunity to leave the dreary planet, which contributes to her peers' jealousy and makes them resentful.
On the only day in seven years that the sun will shine on the rainy planet, Margot's classmates succumb to mob mentality and proceed to lock her in a closet. Tragically, Margot remains locked inside the closet while the sun briefly shines on the planet for an hour. After the children experience the thrill of playing outside in the sun, the rainclouds begin to gather and the thunderstorms resume. Once the children come inside, one of the students suddenly realizes that they have left Margot locked inside the closet. At this point in the story, the tension rises as the children experience remorse for their actions as they slowly walk towards the closet to let Margot out. The story ends with the children feeling contrite and ashamed when they open the closet door. The resolution of the story is that Margot is finally freed from the closet but has missed the rare opportunity to experience the sunshine. The children feel guilty for their actions and recognize that they have destroyed Margot's only opportunity to enjoy the sun.
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The resolution of a story comes right after the climax. After the climax when the outcome of the conflict is revealed, the resolution usually shows how the characters move forward or react afterward. For Ray Bradbury's "All Summer in a Day," the conflict is person vs. society as one little girl is bullied by her classmates because she has seen the sun before and they haven't. At first, the conflict revolves around Margot and William. Margot believes the sun will shine that day as the scientists predict; however, William dispenses negativity and doubt in the classroom. All of the children want to see the sunshine because they have never experienced it—or at least they don't remember it. Margot probably wants to see it shine more because she misses it. 

When the kids shove Margot into a closet before the sun shines, the reader wonders if she will escape in time to enjoy the rays of the sun. Maybe someone will remember Margot in the closet and free her in time to play in the sun. Unfortunately, the climax of the story comes when the clouds cover up the sun again, and a little girl remembers her and screams, "Margot!" It is at this point that everyone knows Margot's fate and that she won't be able to see the sun that day or for another seven years. The resolution, then, is when the class goes back into the building to free Margot from the closet after the sun goes away. The text seems to suggest that the kids know they have done something wrong to Margot because it says the following: 

They walked slowly down the hall in the sound of the cold rain. . . They walked over to the closet door slowly and stood by it. Behind the closed door was only silence. They unlocked the door, even more slowly, and let Margot out.

The fact that the children proceed very slowly when freeing Margot suggests that they know what they did is wrong. They are not happy, joyful, skipping, or shouting because of a fun day in the sun. The moment is diminished because of their hateful actions toward a classmate. Therefore, the resolution is that Margot is freed, but she doesn't get to enjoy the sun; sadly, the children recognize that they did something they can never take back, change, or rectify.

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