30 November 2018
Living life alone is no easy task, especially for Margot. In Ray Bradbury’s “All Summer in a Day”, Margot is a pale, lifeless girl living on Venus with her family. The reason for Margot’s drab figure, however, is none of these things, but the loss of the sun for seven years at a time. Because Margot, only nine and moved to Venus from Earth five years ago, she has not seen the sun since. Margot is living a life of seclusion from her peers and is treated horribly. The theme of Ray Bradbury’s “All Summer in a Day” is solitude because everyone in Margot’s class treats her like she is worthless, her classmates’ jealousy that she remembers the sun, and it seems as if everyone was against Margot from the day that she moved to Venus from Earth.
All throughout “All Summer and a Day”, Ray Bradbury upholds the theme of solitude through Margot’s classmates treating her like she is worthless. When her so-called friends lock her in the closet, it shows how relentlessly cruel and uncaring they are towards her. To her class, Margot is no more special than a single grain of sand in the desert. Similar to “Thank You Ma’am”, by Langston Hughes, the main character, a boy named Roger, is alone and without friends in a cruel and heartless world. In both stories, the main characters are longing for one thing and will do anything to get it. For Margot, her one and only desire is the sun because, on Venus, the only time to get even a mere glimpse of its glory is every 7 years. “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. She was an old photograph dusted from an album, whitened away, and if she spoke at all her voice would be a ghost.” Part of the reason that Margot’s class treats her the way they do is because Margot does not believe herself to be special and it proves easier to put her down. All of these factors lead to Margot’s lonesomeness and ultimately her treatment from the other children.
Another equally important contributor of the theme solitude in “All Summer in a Day” is jealousy. The fact that Margot might succeed is finding a home on Earth and see the sun everyday compels Margot’s schoolmates to take their anger and jealousy out on her even if she may be innocent. “They hated her pale snow face, her waiting silence, her thinness, and her possible future.” Jealousy has the potential to influence one’s mind and can persuade them to do terrible things. Another reason to be jealous of Margot might be because she has seen the sun and remembers its brilliance. “And then, of course, the biggest crime of all was that she had come here only five years ago from Earth, and she remembered the sun and the way the sun was and the sky was when she was four in Ohio. And they, they had been on Venus all their lives, and they had been only two years old when last the sun came out and had long since forgotten the color and heat of it and the way it really was. But Margot remembered. “It’s like a penny,” she said once, eyes closed. “No, it’s not!” the children cried. “It’s like a fire,” she said, “in the stove.” “You’re lying; you don’t remember!” cried the children.” The children would like nothing more than to know for certain that Margot’s picture of the sun is nothing but her imagination, but a little part of them still wishes that it were true. This could be part of the reason that the class locks Margot in the closet – to prevent any chance of her being right and more importantly, them being wrong. On top of all of the awful things that the children have done to Margot, they also restrict her from seeing the sun in hopes of maybe teaching her a lesson, but not leaving her in the closet the whole time. The children believe that the sun is just a hoax that scientists made up. All was forgotten when the teacher comes back just in time to show the children the sun. Since they had never seen it before, everyone stood in awe as it rose from behind the clouds. Because of the children’s jealous thoughts, Margot lives a life of hurt and loneliness that could have very well been prevented if her schoolmates could resist the temptations of jealousy.
Ever since Margot moves to Venus, her peers have tormented and teased Margot for her differences, and from that day forward, she became a social outcast. Margot could tell the moment that she arrives from Earth that something was slightly off about her. ” And once, a month ago, she had refused to shower in the school shower rooms, had clutched her hands to her ears and over her head, screaming the water mustn’t touch her head. So after that, dimly, dimly, she sensed it, she was different, and they knew her difference and kept away.” The students slowly began to realize this too and discovered that Margot would not protect herself nor do anything back to them. “Speak when you’re spoken to.” He gave her a shove. But she did not move; rather she let herself be moved only by him and nothing else.” Only a few of Margot’s class teased her, but even that they stood around and laughed along with the bullies makes them just as bad. By not protecting Margot, it conveyed to the boys that were making fun of her that it was okay. Peer pressure plays a big part in this story because the people who do vex her give into this because it is what is expected of them. Everyone else loathes Margot, so they should too and vice versa. The kids are supposed to laugh right along with the oppressor. What would happen if Margot were to stand up for herself? Would any of her other classmates stand up with her too? Sadly, it seems as though none would because they would be too afraid that they might become treated like Margot – rudely and cruelly. As a result, all of Margot’s class is afraid to stand up for her due to the peer pressure exercised in the story, and thus Margot remains friendless and in solitude.
The story “All Summer in a Day” a beautifully written story that expresses the isolation that Margot faces. The lonesomeness that Margot endures is prominent all throughout the story and is fueled by everyone in Margot’s class treating her like she is worthless, her classmates’ jealousy, and the feeling that everyone was against Margot from the day that she moved to Venus. Margot’s class is like society today in that if one is different, then they are ridiculed, exposed, and are treated like trash.