“The Night” Summary: Ray Bradbury Short Story Synopsis

The Night Summary Ray Bradbury Short Story Synopsis
“The Night” Summary

“The Night” is a short story by Ray Bradbury that first appeared in Dandelion Wine. It’s about a night of fear that stays with a mother and child forever. It’s getting late, and a mother starts worrying because one of her boys hasn’t come home yet. Here’s a summary of “The Night”.

“The Night” Summary

It’s 1927 and you are a child of eight living in a small town with your Mom, Dad and twelve-year old brother, Skipper. Mother gives you money for a pint of ice cream at Mrs. Singer’s, the only store still open this time of night.

You run to the store and get vanilla with a scoop of chocolate on top. On the way home, it’s dark and quiet. Mom is ironing and seems a bit irritated. Dad will be back from the lodge meeting around midnight. Mom divides the ice cream, putting some away for Dad and Skipper.

Skipper is strong and active and is allowed to stay up a bit later. He’s playing kick-the-can on the other side of town.

You and Mom eat the ice cream in the heat and silence. She wonders where Skipper is; it’s almost nine-thirty and he should be home by now. She washes the dishes while you prep the pullout bed. Mom tells you to wait before getting ready for bed.

She goes to the door and calls out to Skipper. There’s no answer. You feel chilled, picking up on your Mom’s nervousness. She walks down the sidewalk a little and calls again but there’s only silence outside. Mom says you’re going to walk down the block. You walk down St. James street toward the ravine.

There are few lights. Mom threatens to spank Skipper, and you think of the razor strop in the kitchen. You walk by the church and can smell the ravine from here.

You remember Grandfather in the coffin when you were six and your little sister lifeless in her crib when you were seven. That was death but this feels different—it’s everything you’ll ever experience at once.

You and Mom walk on the path leading to the ravine. You feel brave with her leading the way. Reaching the ravine, the jungled blackness feels like complete evil. Mom’s hand trembles and you’re filled with doubt, realizing an adult can be fearful too. If something bad happened now, no one would be able to help. You’re alone.

Mom is alone too, but she starts down the ravine path with you at her side. She tells Skipper not to go through the ravine but he does anyway. You think of all the potential dangers that could be encountered in the ravine, all meaning Death.

She calls out again. You both realize that everything is completely silent, which is wrong. Even the crickets aren’t chirping. You feel something very bad is going to happen in ten seconds. It’s so dark and the silence seems to be growing.

Skipper’s voice is heard calling out to Mom. He comes dashing toward you with two friends. The crickets start up again and the darkness seems to recede. Mom’s fear vanishes and she reprimands Skipper for being late. The fear you both felt tonight will stay with you.

You and Skipper get into bed. You hear a train whistle in the distance and think of a cousin out in the country who died of pneumonia years ago. You can smell Skipper’s sweat and you’re glad Skipper isn’t dead.

You aren’t afraid anymore; it feels like magic. You hear footsteps outside and Mom announces that Dad is home.

I hope this summary of “The Night” by Ray Bradbury was helpful.