An essay by suggests that Joan Aiken meant to create a dichotomy between the depression of life in a town and the happiness of life in the country. The essay claims that Aiken often personifies the characteristics of her scenes in order to support her theme.

The sun is one of the most important factors in determining the overall happiness of the area for Aiken, according to the essay. She personifies the sky as "crying" in the town without the sun, which shines brightly in the countryside. The essay goes on to make an example of the houses in Aiken's "Searching for Summer," which she describes as ominous and dark without the sunshine.