Here is the answer and explanation to the question How and why does the children’s point of view change over the course of the story “All Summer in a Day”? What lesson or theme does this change convey?
How and why does the children’s point of view change over the course of the story “All Summer in a Day”? What lesson or theme does this change convey?
Before the rain stops, the other children are jealous of Margot for having memories of seeing sunlight. They are resentful of her for being different from them and for having knowledge they don’t share. Therefore, just as it is time for the rain to stop, they lock her in the closet. As she is beating on the door to be let out, they are smiling in triumph because they have finally thwarted her.
They stood looking at the door and saw it tremble from her beating and throwing herself against it. They heard her muffled cries. Then, smiling, they turned and went out and back down the tunnel . . .
After they experience the short interval of sunshine, however, they have evened the score with Margot. They no longer resent her. They understand better how she could love the sun so much. At this point, when they remember too late that they have left her in the closet, their attitude changes. They realize they have done something terribly cruel to her, and their faces register sadness, not smiles:
They stood as if someone had driven them, like so many stakes, into the floor. They looked at each other and then looked away. They glanced out at the world that was raining now and raining and raining steadily. They could not meet each other’s glances. Their faces were solemn and pale.
It is their own experience of the sun that changes the other children’s attitude to one of compassion for Margot. The theme of the story is that walking in another person’s shoes helps raise compassion for that person: once the children know what the sun is like, they understand why Margot wanted so badly to experience it. Another theme is that jealousy can lead us to acts of cruelty we later regret.
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