Nine years after this story was written, the United States made the first moon landing, and many people thought it would not be long before spaceships made it to Mars and other planets. All day yesterday they had read in class about the sun. 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 what she was waiting for was in her eyes. She is very frail and pale, as if all of the color has been drained from her. A class of nine-year-olds eagerly awaits a brief glimpse of the sun, especially one student named Margot.
As the two-hour summer approaches, the schoolchildren read and write short stories about the sun. These clouds trap the sun's rays and increase the temperature to more than 800° F. And the jungle burned with sunlight as the children, released from their spell, rushed out, yelling into the springtime. She was an old photograph dusted from an album, whitened away, and if she spoke at all her voice would be a ghost. And then In the midst of their running one of the girls wailed. She felt them go away.
They run, play, skip, jump, and prance about, savoring every second of their newly found freedoms. Suddenly, a girl catches a raindrop in her hands. They run, laugh, and yell, staring at the sun and trying to savor every joyful moment. In the center of it, cupped and huge, was a single raindrop. They turned through the doorway to the room in the sound of the storm and thunder, lightning on their faces, blue and terrible.
Sometimes, at night, she heard them stir, in remembrance, and she knew they were dreaming and remembering gold or a yellow crayon or a coin large enough to buy the world with. The children put their hands to their ears. To some extent, Margot seems to have brought this isolation upon herself, because she refuses to participate in games or songs unless they relate to the sun. About how like a lemon it was, and how hot. Venus has a peculiar climate: every seven years, the sun comes out for just two hours. Then, smiling, the turned and went out and back down the tunnel, just as the teacher arrived. A thousand forests had been crushed under the rain and grown up a thousand times to be crushed again.
And they had written small stories or essays or poems about it. They were all nine years old, and if there had been a day, seven years ago, when the sun came out for an hour and showed its face to the stunned world, they could not recall. They came slowly to look at her opened palm. It was the color of flaming bronze and it was very large. All Summer in a Day 2 All day yesterday they had read in class about the sun.
They hated her pale snow face, her waiting silence, her thinness, and her possible future. About how like a lemon it was, and how hot. The overwhelming rain on Venus has created a harsh, inhospitable environment, suggesting a sense of displacement from the natural world on Earth. The world ground to a standstill. But then they always awoke to the tatting drum, the endless shak- ing down of clear bead necklaces upon the roof, the walk, the gardens, the forests, and their dreams were gone.
Lightning struck ten miles away, five miles away, a mile, a half mile. They crowd eagerly by the classroom door. They turned through the doorway to the room in the sound of the storm and thunder, lightning on their faces, blue and terrible. Led by a boy named William, they bully and ostracize her, and just before the sun comes out, William rallies the other children and they lock her in a closet down a tunnel. The ending is expanded to show the children atoning for their horrible act by giving Margot flowers that they picked while the Sun was out. It is far better than they even imagined it would be. Mercury is closer to the Sun, but Venus is hotter than Mercury because its atmosphere is full of thick clouds of sulfuric acid strong enough to etch metal and burn through your flesh.
And again, Margot closes herself off from others because her memories are so important to her that she would rather focus on them. It had been raining for seven years; thousands upon thousands of days com- pounded and filled from one end to the other with rain, with the drum and gush of water, with the sweet crystal fall of showers and the concussion 1 of storms so heavy they were tidal waves come over the islands. Bradbury does not show us the aftermath of this episode, but it is clear that the day has ended in difficult feelings all around. 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. Bradbury wrote his story in 1959, during a period roughly 1957-1975 when the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union was in full swing. Then, wildly, like animals escaped from their caves, they ran and ran in shouting circles.
The sky darkened into midnight in a flash. They looked at their hands and feet, their faces down. One of the children, Margot, moved to Venus from five years earlier, and she is the only one who remembers sunshine, since the Sun shone regularly on Earth. Will it happen today, will it? It was as if, in the midst of a film concerning an avalanche, a tornado, a hurricane, a volcanic eruption, something had, first, gone wrong with the sound apparatus, thus muffling and finally cutting off all noise, all of the blasts and repercussions and thunders, and then, second, ripped the film from the projector and inserted in its place a beautiful tropical slide which did not move or tremor. All of these things make William and the other children jealous and angry. You wouldn't want to get caught out! They unlocked the door, even more slowly, and let Margot out. Humans live underground in a network of tunnels, eagerly awaiting the very brief summer.