20 pages 40 minutes read

Ray Bradbury

All Summer In A Day

Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1954

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Summary: “All Summer In A Day”

“All Summer in a Day” is a short story by American speculative fiction writer Ray Bradbury. It first appeared in a 1954 edition of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and has since been anthologized numerous times and even adapted as a short television film.

Set on a recently colonized Venus, the story begins with a crowd of nine-year-olds peering out their classroom window to see whether the rain is stopping; on Venus, the sun only appears for one hour in between seven-year intervals of rain. In the days leading up to this event, the children have learned about the sun in school, but because most of them were born on Venus, they have no actual memories of sunlight. The one exception is a girl named Margot, who moved to Venus with her parents at age four and whose parents are considering moving back there soon, although it will be expensive to do so. She both remembers and desperately misses the sun and has shown little interest in interacting with her classmates: “When the class sang songs about life and happiness and games, her lips barely moved. Only when they sang about the sun and summer did her lips move, as she watched the drenched windows” (Paragraph 28).

Margot’s unhappiness combined with her classmates’ jealousy make her the target of bullying. On this particular day, the children vent their nervous excitement on Margot; a boy named William taunts her, asking what she’s waiting for and claiming that the scientists’ forecast is “all a joke” (Paragraph 40). Whipped into a frenzy, the children push Margot into a closet and lock her inside as she cries, pleads, and beats on the door to be let out. The teacher then returns and takes the class outside, where the rain is finally stopping.

The sun’s emergence has an immediate effect on the children: They joyfully shed their coats as they play and bask in the sunlight. After an hour, however, the weather begins to change; a girl catches a raindrop on her palm and begins crying, and the children hurry back inside as the storms once again approach. As they sadly reflect that they won’t see the sun for another seven years, they remember that Margot is still in the closet. Now ashamed of their earlier actions, they return to the closet, where Margot is now silent, and unlock the door.