Supertoys Last All Summer Long
In a dystopian future where only 1/4th of the overcrowded population is living comfortably, parent must request permission to bear children. A young boy named David Swinton lives with his mother Monica, with whom he has great difficulty communicating with. He owns a toy bear named Teddy, David goes to Teddy for help because he feels as if his mother doesn’t love him, and that he is “not real”. The story jump to a meeting where David’s father Henry Swinton is at a meeting discussing artificial life forms, and how they are the solution to the world problem of loneliness and isolation. The story cuts back to Monica Swinton who has discovered a box of letters her son has written about how he feels about his mother and the conflicts he faces but all his letters remain unfinished. She is petrified by these letters, but her emotion quickly changes when Henry Swinton announces that their family has been chosen to have a “real” child. Monica tell Henry that David must be sent back to the factory because he is unable to communicate. The story concludes with David thinking about his love for his mother, unaware of the tragedy that is to happen next.
The opening setting is at home with Monica Swinton, David, and Teddy. The story begins in Mrs. Swinton’s garden, afterwards we begin to gain insight of the involving characters. Immediately, we gain sympathy for David, the omniscient narrative allows us to go inside his “head” to understand the “love in his heart”. However, we understand others don’t see his compassion because he’s unable to communicate well. The mood of the story begins with a utopian environment, but quickly changes to the very opposite
This story is told in the past tense and the narrative is a third person omniscient narrative. The narrative is omniscient because the narrator has knowledge of everything about the characters and their surroundings. The breaks in the story are examples of unusual syntax. They are used to change the pace of the story, from the slow, depressing home of the Swinton’s to Henry discussing the use of artificial intelligence and how it could be the solution to a struggling world’s problems.
A key sentence in this story is “Yes, my darling, yes, we’ve won this week’s parenthood lottery. This is key because it solves the inciting incident of Monica Swinton feeling alone, and personally isolated. She replaces David with a “real child.
There are many shifts in in the story, usually represented buy breaks in the page. They are used to shift from different settings moods, and tones. There is also a shift when Monica discovers she can have a child. The depressing mood changes to exciting and upbeat.
The story is set in a utopian future, in an overpopulated world the Swinton’s are one of the few families who live comfortably. Monica Swinton is the protagonist of the story, she is trying to communicate to David, but faces an internal struggle of loneliness and personal isolation. This disables her to connect to David. The mood of the story begins as gloomy, this mood continues until the scene changes and Henry Swinton brings an optimistic mood into the story. The climax of the story is when Monica discovers unfinished letters written by David which talks about his jealous for Teddy, and question whether he is real. An example of symbolism is the rose. The rose makes many appearances in the story for example; “roses occasionally suffer from black spots, “these roses are guaranteed free from any imperfections”. A rose is a common symbol of love, which represents what David and Monica can’t show.
There are many different themes to this story. Love is a common theme in this story and it’s clear when love is present and when it is not. Another theme is the difficulties of replacing real relationships with artificial ones. The major connection between these themes is the idea of what is “real”? This question allows the reader to interpret the story in their own way. For example, David constantly questions whether he is real or not. Teddy assures David that he is real but the reader knows that he is in fact a robot. This challenged us to think critically about what we accept as “real”.
The survival of Monica Sw2inton depends on her ability to overcome her loneliness. Her artificial son, Davi doesn’t allow her to live well, and happily. When she learns that she has been chosen to bear a child, she is overjoyed and is finally able to get past her internal struggles. Physically, Monica live in a beautiful world where “it is always summer”. Mentally she lives in a much different world. Trapped by her mental conflicts, she views the world as a dark, gloomy, and lonely place. Monica’s role is to love and nurture a child. This is a role that she is unable to perform until she learns that she will bear a real child.
Looking at this story through the queer lens helps us to understand the question the author wants us to ask ourselves. Typically, humans view real as anything the exists outside of the human imagination. This story questions whether that description of real is true. David is clearly something that is outside of the human imagination that most people consider to be real. The queer theory challenges that something that is artificial, is in fact not real. This theory allows us to look at love, and question whether love is something that can be artificially made, or maybe it’s an innate feeling only live beings can feel.
Monica is a victim of loneliness, at the beginning of the story she admits she can’t communicate with David but blames it on him instead. She becomes a creative non-victim when she resolves her issue by sending David back to the factory.
The ending of the story is effective because it’s the first time David is referred to as a robot. It proves that Monica Swinton never really cared for David as a child because she’s only able to overcome he mental issues when she discovers she will be bearing a child. It adds to our understanding of Monica’s problems with loneliness, she never felt as if she had a “real” connection to David. This is effective because it leaves the reader questioning what relationships are real or not, and what that really means.