All Summer in a Day

All Summer in a Day Study Guide

Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Ray Bradbury's All Summer in a Day. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.

Brief Biography of Ray Bradbury

From his earliest years, Ray Bradbury was inspired by the intrusion of fantasy into everyday life. As a child, he avidly read horror stories, collected early science fiction magazines, and attended magic shows. High school marked the end of his formal education, but by that time, Bradbury had already established himself as a talented short story writer. In the prolific years to come, Bradbury wrote celebrated novels including Fahrenheit 451 as well as hundreds of short stories, some of which were collected in The Martian Chronicles in 1950 and The Illustrated Man in 1951. Though many of his works include futuristic settings and imagined technologies, Bradbury resisted categorization as a “science fiction” writer—he maintained that his works were more like myths about human nature than speculative fiction. Indeed, many of his short stories use fantastic settings or futuristic technology as tools for exploring timeless themes like nostalgia, censorship, or anxiety about the future. When he died at 91, Bradbury was regarded as one of the most prominent science fiction writers of his time.
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Historical Context of All Summer in a Day

During Ray Bradbury’s childhood in Waukegan, Illinois—which later served as the inspiration for Bradbury’s fictional “Green Town”—the small frontier town, like many in 1920s America, underwent a significant transformation. The arrival of new, industrialized technology like mass transit seemed to erase the old character of the quaint semi-rural town. This kind of rapid modernization, which rearranged communities and signaled a further remove from life close to nature, was a source of anxiety for many writers of Bradbury’s era. Similarly, the 1950s were an era of rapid suburban development that made it easier than ever for people to live surrounded by modern conveniences but far removed from nature. The end of World War II and beginning of the Cold War also brought significant advances in rocket science. Rockets had great potential for use—and misuse—as both weapons and tools of exploration. The possibility of space travel was closer than ever before—as was the specter of a nuclear conflict that could drive humans into underground shelters.

Other Books Related to All Summer in a Day

“All Summer in a Day” is one of many Ray Bradbury short stories to imagine the social and psychological consequences of colonizing other planets, including many of his stories in both The Martian Chronicles and The Illustrated Man. In these works, Bradbury frequently returns to ideas about nostalgia for childhood and nature on Earth. Like “All Summer in a Day,” Bradbury’s 1950 story “The Long Rain” (originally published as “Death by Rain”) is set on a perpetually-raining Venus, where human colonizers long for the healing power of the sun; on this version of Venus, the fatal effects of sunlight deprivation are even more extreme. Bradbury has often said that he was inspired by the works of earlier science fiction writers Jules Verne and H.G. Welles, both of whom also imagined the human impacts of travel to fantastical other worlds. Published the same year as “All Summer in a Day,” William Golding’s speculative fiction novel Lord of the Flies also explores themes of power and bullying among children in extreme circumstances. Lord of the Flies, like much of Bradbury’s work, uses a futuristic backdrop and an extreme social setting to draw out truths about ordinary human conflict. This is especially powerful given that both stories were published during the technological and societal uncertainty of the Cold War.
Key Facts about All Summer in a Day
  • Full Title: All Summer in a Day
  • When Published: March 1954
  • Literary Period: Post-war/science fiction
  • Genre: Science fiction
  • Setting: A classroom on the planet Venus
  • Climax: The sun comes out while Margot is locked inside a closet
  • Antagonist: William and classmates
  • Point of View: Third person

Extra Credit for All Summer in a Day

Community of Tomorrow Bradbury worked on the 1964 World’s Fair in New York alongside Walt Disney, and, years later, he helped Disney design the “Spaceship Earth” attraction at Epcot. Bradbury believed that the park could help demonstrate ways to avoid the kind of futures he wrote about: “If we can borrow some of the concepts of Disneyland and Disney World and Epcot, then indeed the world can be a better place,” he said.

Transit of Venus “All Summer in a Day” is one of several Bradbury stories about Venus. Coincidentally, the author died in 2012 during the brief transit of Venus—the last time the planet would cross between Earth and the sun for more than a century.