“Season of Disbelief” Summary: Ray Bradbury Short Story

Season of Disbelief Summary Ray Bradbury Short Story
“Season of Disbelief” Summary

“Season of Disbelief” is a short story by Ray Bradbury about an old woman who gets annoyed with two little girls when they don’t believe she was ever like them. She tries using her many mementos and keepsakes to convince them that she was once a little girl too. Here’s a summary of “Season of Disbelief”.

“Season of Disbelief” Summary

Old Mrs. Bentley moved into the town five years ago. She’s always been a saver, and has accumulated many tokens from her past, which she keeps in trunks. Her husband John has died; she only has his suit, silk hat and cane. She keeps her house neat and clean.

Since moving to town, Mrs. Bentley has seen the children around and had little interactions with them. In the middle of last summer, while out on her porch, an ice-cream truck came by. She bought a treat for the three kids on her lawn.

They introduce themselves as Alice, Jane and Tom. Mrs. Bentley says she used to be called Helen, but the children are confused by the thought of an old person having a regular first name. Mrs. Bentley is seventy-two, but doesn’t feel any different than when she was a pretty young girl like Jane and Alice.

Jane gets up to go. Her mother told her telling lies is bad. She doesn’t believe Mrs. Bentley was ever a little girl. Mrs. Bentley tries to explain that everyone was young once, but Jane is unconvinced. She doesn’t believe her name is Helen, either.

Mrs. Bentley gets upset at the children’s attitude. She still tries to change their minds as they walk away.

For the rest of the day, Mrs. Bentley is in a bad mood. After supper, she gathers a few of her saved items and waits on her porch. When the children walk by, she calls them over. She wants to show them some of her treasures—a comb from when she was nine, a ring she wore at eight, jackstones she used to play with, and a picture of herself at seven with curly blonde hair, blue eyes and a yellow dress.

The girls like the comb and ring, but Jane argues about the picture. It doesn’t look like Mrs. Bentley, and she could have borrowed it from someone. She wants someone who knew Mrs. Bentley as a younger person to confirm the story. Mrs. Bentley didn’t grow up here and no one knew her back then, so Jane doesn’t believe her.

“Season of Disbelief” Summary, Cont’d

Mrs. Bentley tries to explain that they’ll get old one day and their mothers are getting older. They remain unconvinced. Jane and Alice thank her for the things and leave. Mrs. Bentley wants the items back and Tom tries to get them to return her things, but they go. Mrs. Bentley stole these things from some girl, so she doesn’t really own them.

Tom apologizes and leaves as well. Mrs. Bentley trembles and feels empty.

Mrs. Bentley lies awake that night, looking at her trunks and wondering if she really has a past. We’re always in the present, and her childhood is gone.

The wind blows the curtain against her husband’s cane and knocks it over. She knows how he would view the situation. All her tokens belonged to the old her, not who she is now. He never approved of her keeping all those things. We’re always trapped in the present. Her souvenirs and prized possessions don’t prove anything. She’s who she is at this moment, not any of her things.

Mrs. Bentley decides to do something about it in the morning. She’ll be who she is now, not herself from any other year.

Jane and Alice show up the next day to see if Mrs. Bentley has any more of the girl’s things to give them. She leads them into the library and gives them her things—a dress, kaleidoscope, magnifying glass, books, skates, dolls and whatever else they want to take.

Mrs. Bentley gets the girls to help her bring the trunks of leftover stuff to the backyard. She starts a fire and burns everything.

The rest of the summer, Jane, Alice and Tom hang around Mrs. Bentley’s porch. When the ice-cream truck comes by, she buys them all something and they sit and eat together.

They’re good friends now. Mrs. Bentley has always been seventy-two, never dressed like a little girl, doesn’t have a first name, has always lived in this same house, and has never in a million trillion years been pretty.

I hope this summary of “Season of Disbelief” by Ray Bradbury was helpful.