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…
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?
The children’s point of view changes after experiencing sunshine for the first time and sympathizing with Margot’s unique situation in “All Summer in a Day.” Initially, the children were intolerant of Margot and locked her inside a closet when the sun came out. Tragically, Margot missed the opportunity to enjoy the sunshine. When the thunderstorms resume, the children regret their actions. Their change of perspective conveys the theme regarding the importance of exercising tolerance towards others.
As the story opens, the other children are jealous and resentful of Margot, especially a boy named William. They resent her because she came to Venus later than they did. Therefore she remembers the sun, which they do not. She comes across as being superior and putting on airs because…
As the story opens, the other children are jealous and resentful of Margot, especially a boy named William. They resent her because she came to Venus later than they did. Therefore she remembers the sun, which they do not. She comes across as being superior and putting on airs because she has memories they don’t understand and don’t share.
More basically, she is the child who doesn’t fit in. She is lonely and unhappy on Venus. She refuses to join their games. She longs for sun, something they can’t miss, because it is not part of their lives. She is the archetypal outsider. She rejects a life that feels perfectly normal and acceptable to them.
When the rain is about the stop and the sun comes out for the first time in seven years, the children angrily lock Margot in a windowless closet. This is a way to level the playing field for a few minutes: apparently, they mean to let her out in time to play in the sun, but they forget.
They forget because they are so overwhelmed at the sun. They change once they gain understanding of what Margot has been missing. It is marvelous to have sunshine, and suddenly they gain empathy for her longing. They want to share the joy with her, but unfortunately they are too late. By the time they remember her, the rain has begun to fall. They then experience shame.
The story emphasizes the theme of accepting difference. It is difficult to gain compassion and understanding of what another person is going through until we walk in their shoes. Nevertheless, the story illustrates it is best to try to extend sympathy and toleration.
Before the sun shines on the rainy planet of Venus, the children view Margot with contempt because she is odd and different, which influences them to bully and harass her on the one day in seven years that the sun shines. The majority of Margot’s classmates have been on the rainy planet their entire lives and have never experienced sunshine before. Since Margot moved to Venus five years ago, she can vividly remember the beautiful sunshine, which makes the children envious and upset. They resent Margot for understanding the amazing feeling of sunshine and are jealous that she will be leaving the planet to return to Earth.
Shortly before the sun appears for the first time in seven years, the children overpower Margot and lock her in a closet in the back of the classroom. When the rain stops and the sun shines, the children enjoy the unique feeling of running and playing outside. After an hour of glorious sunshine, the thunderstorms resume, and the children return to the classroom, where they remember locking Margot inside the back closet. The children experience guilt, shame, and remorse for their actions and the narrator writes,
They could not meet each other’s glances. Their faces were solemn and pale. They looked at their hands and feet, their faces down.
After experiencing the sunshine, the children exercise their new perspective by sympathizing with Margot and having empathy for her difficult situation. They finally acknowledge Margot’s differences and regret their decision to harass and bully her. The children’s actions and feelings of remorse emphasize the theme concerning the importance of exercising tolerance. Initially, the children were intolerant of Margot’s odd behavior and unique situation. They scoffed at her experiences and bullied her because she was different. However, the children were able to sympathize with her situation after experiencing the sunshine themselves, which dramatically altered their perspective. Bradbury’s story highlights the importance of exercising tolerance towards others despite their differences.
At the beginning of the story, Margot’s classmates are depicted as jealous, cruel children. They envy Margot’s experience on Earth and resent her for knowing what the sun looks and feels like. Unlike Margot, the children have been on the rainy planet of Venus their entire lives and have yet to experience the sun, which only shines once every seven years. The children also resent the fact that Margot has the opportunity to leave the dismal planet and Bradbury writes,
They hated her pale snow face, her waiting silence, her thinness, and her possible future (2).
The children continually bully Margot because she is an outsider and proceed to shove her into a closet at the back of the classroom to prevent her from experiencing the sunshine. While Margot is locked in the closet, the sun comes out for the first time in seven years and the children thoroughly enjoy the bright outdoors. When the sky becomes gray and it starts to rain again, the children run indoors and suddenly realize that Margot did not get to experience the amazing sunshine. Bradbury writes,
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 could not meet each other’s glances. Their faces were solemn and pale. They looked at their hands and feet, their faces down (4).
Judging by their reactions, the children are overwhelmed with guilt and shame for bullying their classmate. The children’s point of view significantly changes from the beginning to the end of the story. Initially, they are intolerant towards Margot and view her with contempt. However, they experience remorse and guilt after sympathizing with her traumatic situation at the end of the story.
The children’s remorseful feelings underscore Bradbury’s theme regarding the harm and abuse associated with bullying. Bradbury is suggesting that bullying not only harms the victim but also negatively impacts the bullies, who are later consumed by guilt and remorse for their abusive actions.
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