Sunday in the Park

This study guide will help you analyze the text “Sunday in the Park” by Bel Kaufman. You can also find a summary of the text, as well as inspiration for interpreting it and putting it into perspective

Presentation of the text

Title: “Sunday in the Park”
Author: Bel Kaufman
Date of Publication: 1983
Genre: Short Story

Bel Kaufman was an American writer and teacher. She is mostly known for her bestselling novel, “Up the Down Staircase”. The short story “Sunday in the Park” explores the theme of reason versus instinct in an unusual setting: a playground.


Here, you can read an extract from our study guide: 


The woman describes the university where Morton works as “factorylike” (p. 1, l. 19). This suggests the bleakness of the building as opposed to the bright, sunny park where they spend their Sunday afternoon, but it also implies its specific routine. Together with the phrase “cooped up” (p. 1, l. 18), the university is seen as a restrictive but sheltered environment, where Morton spends most of his time. The ‘factorylike’ university follows certain rules, while the park, although sunny and bright, is an environment where anything can happen.

The woman describes Larry’s shoulder blades as “winglike” (p. 2, l. 56). The simile suggests she sees her son as vulnerable and precious. 

After they leave the park, the woman feels “as if all three of them were tracking mud along the street” (p. 2, ll. 60-61). The simile shows that the...

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Sunday in the Park

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