Thursday, April 21, 2016

R: Ray Bradbury & ALL SUMMER IN A DAY

“Oh God, the terrible tyranny of the majority. We all have our harps to play. And it's up to you to know with which ear you'll listen.” -Ray Bradbury, FAHRENHEIT 451

Ray Bradbury's short story, ALL SUMMER IN A DAY, was first published in the March 1954 issue of THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION. The story is about a group of nine year-old schoolchildren living on Venus, where it rains 24/7. On this planet, the sun appears very briefly only once every seven years. Most children living here don't remember having ever seen the sun, which feels almost like a myth to them. Margot, one of the schoolchildren, knows the sun because she lived on Earth before moving to Venus. On the long-awaited day when the cherished sun is supposed to appear on Venus, Margot dreamily shares her memories of the sun with her classmates. It is clear that she misses the sun and her old home on Earth. The children accuse Margot of lying about the sun's existence and forcibly lock her inside a closet. The teacher is unaware that Margot is missing and the children soon forget about her. When the sun finally appears, the children enjoy a couple of glorious hours playing outside. When the sun disappears and it rains again, the children remember Margot and let her out of the closet. The sun will not return here for seven years. 

Contrary to the notion that victims of bullying are often lacking in a prized area, I feel that bullying victims are often quietly regarded to have an advantage over others in some way. I believe the kids were hating on Margo because she has known the bliss of being regularly pampered with the sun's light and heat while they have not. Her knowledge and experience might've made the others feel inadequate. 

Have you read ALL SUMMER IN A DAY? What do you think is a suitable punishment for the children, perhaps even the teacher, in this story? 

17 comments:

Natasha Duncan-Drake said...

I have not read this story, sounds a bit bleak. The most important part of any punishment is for the perpetrator to realise what they have done wrong, whatever comes after that should be atonement.
Tasha
Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

Jo said...

No I don't think so. The story I remember the most is The Illustrated Man. I did read Fahrenheit 451 too. Your bullying theory is pretty sound.

M.J. Fifield said...

I haven't read this one, nor much by Ray Bradbury. When I was teaching, there was a Ray Bradbury script he wrote for the Twilight Zone in one of my textbooks. We read that in class a couple of times, but I couldn't even tell you what it was about now.

betty said...

My sister read a lot of Ray Bradbury, so I'm sure she read this one. Poor Margo to have missed the sun. Going with your bully theory, which does sound plausible, I would think discipline needs to be done but also I'm thinking working with the kids for them to realize how they reached the conclusion she had to be locked away, so that further incidents wouldn't happen down the road.

betty

Luana Krause said...

I like this story because it touches on the universal condition of man. I think you've hit the nail on the head with the bullying issue because insecurity plays a big part in bullying. It also seems to be something that the bully must do with others watching. Not typically one on one, or maybe that's just how it is in the movies.

Pat Hatt said...

It does seem many are bullied because they have something others don't

Lynn Proctor said...

Sad story- published in my birth year

Lynn Proctor said...

Sad story- published in my birth year

Sunday Visitor said...

It's sad that childhood is often marked by scars of bullying

Megan Whitson Lee said...

I have not read this, but I really like Ray Bradbury. I've only read a couple of things from him, but I always find them unusual and surprising. A Perfect Murder I just read a couple of years ago.

Thanks for stopping by!
http://meganwhitsonlee.blogspot.com

Liz A. said...

That's an awful story. I was introduced to Bradbury by my 8th grade English teacher. He was a huge fan. Never read this one. Glad I didn't.

Liz A. from Laws of Gravity
& Unicorn Bell ("Rewind")

The Silver Fox said...

After reading "Contrary to the notion that victims of bullying are often lacking in a prized area, I feel that bullying victims are often quietly regarded to have an advantage over others in some way. I believe the kids were hating on Margo because she has known the bliss of being regularly pampered with the sun's light and heat while they have not. Her knowledge and experience might've made the others feel inadequate." I remember how, whenever I was teased or picked on at school, my mother would say "They're just jealous," and I'd wonder what she meant. Now I know... I think.

Random Musings said...

Poor Margot. I think the kids were probably jealous because she had seen something they hadn't. They still deserve to be punished though. It's quite appalling that the teacher didn't notice one of her students was missing!
Debbie

Jennifer R. Hubbard said...

I read this in school, and boy did it stick with me. I think punishment is beside the point; the offense is so huge--and I also remember thinking at the end of the story, when they go to let Margot out of the closet, that they KNOW this, they get in that moment just how horrible they've been.
Rachel Simmons put forth the same theory about bullying--the nail that sticks up gets pounded down, in a sense.

Natasha Borah Khan said...

No, I have not read "All Summer In A Day", but your post makes me want to!
Points To Ponder
Natasha'z Words

cynthiamvoss said...

I have not read this, but I did read Fahrenheit 451. You bring up a good point about bullying, and I agree with some other comments that the bully feels insecure about something and that's the root of the behavior. I think the target could be anyone, a kid who's lacking or a kid who's privileged in some way. Unfortunately, I think the bully has the ability to seize the moment and know how to turn the crowd on one person, regardless of the reason.

Doree Weller said...

That's an interesting combination: bullying and life on another planet. I'll have to check out that story. I've been looking for good short stories and they often seem to be in short supply.
@DoreeWeller from
Doree Weller’s Blog

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