“The Friday Everything Changed” Summary by Anne Hart: Plot Synopsis

“The Friday Everything Changed” is a popular short story for students by Anne Hart about the time a long-standing school tradition was challenged. In a small-town schoolroom, the boys have always fetched the water, and no one has ever questioned that. Here’s a summary of “The Friday Everything Changed”.

“The Friday Everything Changed” Summary

During the last hour of school on Friday afternoons, the little kids do their Junior Red Cross activities and the bigger kids read magazines. The boys, being bigger and stronger, get the more interesting ones. It’s also when the two boys are picked to carry the water for next week.

The water bucket gets filled at a railway station about a quarter of a mile away. It’s kept on a shelf at the front of the class behind the teacher’s desk. After making a paper cup, students can get a drink. It’s a real, practical task, and it means being away from school for half an hour. The most important thing at school, even more than softball, is who gets to fetch the water. A boy has to be at least in Grade 5 to be considered for the job.

The Friday Everything Changed Anne Hart Summary Plot Synopsis
“The Friday Everything Changed” Summary

One Friday afternoon, it’s announced that Ernie Chapman and Garnet Dixon would get the water next week. Alma Niles asks why the girls can’t go for the water. Everyone, including Alma, is stunned.

The teacher, Miss Ralston, is young, having just finished Grade 11 the year before in River Hibbert, a bigger town. The boys admire her for strapping them hard when they deserve it, and the girls because she’s pretty. She seems to regard the kids as real people, not just students to push ahead.

Instead of dismissing this unusual idea immediately, Miss Ralston says she’ll think about it and let everyone know next Friday.

In the schoolyard, the boys react to the threat quickly. They go after Alma. Surprisingly, her female classmates stick up for her; they understand the importance of carrying the water too. They get out of the schoolyard with a few bruises. Everyone is obsessed with this potential change over the weekend.

On Monday, the girls find the boys won’t let them field in softball. Two of the bigger boys, usually Ernie Chapman and Junior LeBlanc, would be captains and pick their teams (all boys), which stayed fixed for the whole week. The smaller boys and older girls would help field. They played with non-standard rules in a week-long, drawn out game.

The girls are disappointed, as softball is one of the highlights of the school day. Doris Pomeroy, a 9th grader, steadies them. It’s a difficult week, as the boys bully the girls as much as possible. The girls bond over the experience.

“The Friday Everything Changed” Summary, Cont’d

Alma’s cousin, Arnold, pressures her with a vague threat about losing the water bucket altogether, and confides that carrying the water is hard on the cold days. Alma hold firm.

Miss Ralston acts as she always does. Only Doris notices that she seems mad at seeing the girls looking scared. In River Hibbert, where Miss Ralston is from, girls play on the softball team along with the boys.

It’s lunch time on Friday and the softball game is coming to an end. Miss Ralston walks by the girls heading for the field. She takes the bat from Irving Snell and bangs the plate, telling Ernie to pitch. The girls rush to watch. Her first hit is a foul that George Fowler misplays.

Ernie takes his time before his second pitch and is urged on by the boys. He throws it as hard as he can. Miss Ralston hits the ball high in the air right across the road into the ox pasture. A hit like this only happens about once a year.

Miss Ralston calls everyone to class. In the afternoon, at the end of Red Cross, Miss Ralston announces the water bearers for next week—Alma Niles and Joyce Shipley.

I hope this summary of “The Friday Everything Changed” by Anne Hart was helpful.