“Embroidery” Summary: Ray Bradbury Short Story Synopsis

Embroidery Summary Ray Bradbury Short Story Synopsis
“Embroidery” Summary

“Embroidery” is a short story by Ray Bradbury that appeared in his 1953 collection The Golden Apples of the Sun. It’s about three women who occupy themselves with needlework while waiting for the results of an experiment that they expect will end everything. Here’s a summary of “Embroidery”.

“Embroidery” Summary

Three women sit in rocking chairs on a porch doing needlework. It’s ten minutes to five, and the first woman is going to prepare dinner. She’s reminded of something by one of her companions that changes her mind. She won’t shell those peas after all.

The second lady is embroidering the most intricate scene with a man, house, road, flower and sun. The women talk about how they think of their hands at times like these, and all the things they’ve done. They recount many of the tasks they’ve carried out.

They realize they won’t be doing any of these things tomorrow or ever again. They all start crying. The first woman snaps them out of it.

The second lady is annoyed to find she’s made a mistake on the man’s face. She picks at the thread aggressively, removing his face and then removing the man completely.

It’s now five minutes to five. It’s supposed to happen at five but they’re not exactly sure how it’s going to be. They know it’s going to be bigger than the other dozen times, maybe a thousand times bigger.

It’s one minute to five and they focus on their embroidery. They won’t hear anything when it happens. Maybe they’ll look back and laugh at how concerned they were about some experiment.

It’s five o’clock. The ladies go quiet and busy themselves, looking down at their work. After thirty seconds of frantic needlework, the second woman relaxes and gets up to shell the peas. At the side of her vision, she sees the world catch fire. No one looks up.

The second woman sees a slow-motion fire destroy her embroidered scene. She’s not aware of what’s happening to her two companions. The fire consumes the white of her skin until it finds her heart.

I hope this summary of “Embroidery” by Ray Bradbury has been helpful.