Settings in “All Summer in a Day” by Ray Bradbury
The story entitled “All Summer in a Day” raises the themes of human cruelty and inability to accept and respect differences. The topics are masterfully depicted by description of the settings of the story that play a vital role in bringing the message home to the reader. The main idea of the story – that the differences should be embraced and not fought against – is masterfully constructed through a wide use of symbols referring to the description of nature. This paper hypothesizes that Bradbury uses settings to drive the action of the story as well as create an impression of a contrast and differences the author seeks to depict.
The story “All Summer in a Day” revolves around a little girl named Margot who comes from the Earth to Venus, a planet beseeched by rains seven years running. Margot suffers from not seeing the sun, the fact deeply opposed by other children who do not know what the sun is. The contrast of nature – the rain and the sun – portrays the deeper contrast between a girl and her peers who are as different as warmth and coldness, as a dry and sunny day and rainy week. There are many descriptions of the sun in the text. Margot compares it with “a yellow crayon or a coin large enough to buy the world with” (Bradbury, 2021, p. 35). Furthermore, she compares a sun to a flower extending the simile to embrace her anxiousness at seeing the sun, her waiting for it as people wait for flowers that come out a spring. By naming such qualities of the sun as its warms and heat, the author draws parallels between the sun and the girl who is kind and gentle.
The other children are associated with the rain; there are many epithets in the text related to the water. The author uses such phrases as “the drum and gush of water, with the sweet crystal fall of showers and the concussion of storms”, “drenched windows”, and “wet world” to portray the absolute dominance of rain on the planet (Bradbury, 2021, p. 35-37). Indeed, the rain in the story serves to symbolize people’s coldness, lack of compassion and sympathy. The very fact that it rains all the time and the sun comes out rarely makes the identification of a girl with the sun and children with the rain more valid. The girl is small and alone which the children are numerous and they are everywhere. The contrast between the sun and the rain is transferred into the conflict of the girl and other children who crush her as “forests had been crushed under the rain” (Bradbury, 2021, p. 35). The girl is deeply suffering from children’s attitude who are not ready to accept her because she is different. This suffering is portrayed with the used of simile; the author says “the rain had washed out the blue from her eyes” showing how the children affect her (Bradbury, 2021, p. 36). Thus, the description of rain serves to depict evil treatment of Margot by the children.
The settings play a vital role in forming the story. Through the contrast of the rain and the sun the author draws the picture of the opposition of the girl and the children. The sun associated with the girl depicts her gentle nature, while the rain serves to portray cruelty and coldness of the children. Paining rains as numerous and without end and the sun as rare and beautiful, the author wants to show that misunderstanding and violence is common, while kindness is rare and calls on the reader to think over how the situation may be changed.
Bradbury, R. (2021). All summer in a day. In I, Me, You, We (pp. 33-42). Routledge.