One of the children, Margot, had moved to Venus from Earth five years before the story takes place, and she is the only one in her class to remember sunshine. She has become frail and miserable on Venus, and almost has a nervous breakdown from the anxiety of living with the relentless rain. "[Once], a month ago, she had refused to shower in the school shower rooms, had clutched her hands to her ears and over her head, screaming the water mustn't touch her head."
Margot writes a poem about the sun:
"I think the sun is a flower,
That blooms for just one hour."
She also describes the sun as "a penny", or "like a fire in the stove".
In her misery, Margot will not play with the other children, and they bully her for her separateness and refuse to believe her memories of the sun. As the sun's predicted appearance draws near, while the teacher is out of the classroom, William, the student who most often torments Margot for being a quiet outcast, convinces the other children to lock Margot in the closet. They ignore her cries and pleas; her beating against the closet door begging to be let out.
As the sun is about to appear, the teacher arrives to take the class outside to enjoy their two hours of sunshine. In their astonishment and joy, they all forget about Margot. They run and play, skip jump and prance about, savoring every second of their newly found freedom.
All at once, a girl feels a raindrop in her hand, and with the sad realization that the rain is returning, all the children start to cry. Thunder sounds, and the children run back inside. Suddenly, one of the children remembers Margot, still locked in the closet. They stand frozen with shame for what they have done, unable to "meet each other's glances." The precious sun...