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Free Online Study Guide for Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

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DANDELION WINE: FREE DOWNLOADABLE BOOK NOTES


Chapter Seven


Summary

With the rituals of the dandelion wine and new shoes now over, the next ritual occurred on the third day of summer: Grandpa setting up the front-porch swing. Douglas helps him, and after the swing is ready, Grandma bring out other chairs. As evening arrives, people throughout town gather on their porches. At his grandparents' porch, all their relatives and friends visit at some point during the night, from Miss Fern and Miss Roberta in their Green Machine to the junkman Mr. Ned Jonas. Douglas is reassured by the flow of voices, and considers summer nights on porches a ritual that will never fade.


Notes

The porch swing is another ritual of summer, and another way to subtly emphasize the virtues of small town life. Douglas' youthfulness - and thus, otherness from adults - is emphasized in his inability to comprehend their discussions.


Chapter Eight


Summary

Walking past the United Cigar Store with Douglas and Tom, Grandfather Spaulding runs into Leo Auffmann, the town jeweler. Leo is alarmed at talk of violence among some other men, and Grandfather proposes he invent a brighter future, the way he invented the bicycle he's riding on and some penny arcade contraptions; Douglas pipes in and dubs such an invention a Happiness Machine. Leo finds some sense in this, as machines up to now have only led to misery. Leo pedals off on his bicycle - Grandfather tries to dissuade him from this project, but Douglas believes he can do it.


Notes

Though he is an inventor, Leo has a fear of letting machineries run too far ahead of people. This is a reflection of Bradbury's own thematic concerns, evident throughout this novel as well as his science fiction stories. However, Leo believes a happiness machine would be an antidote to this, which is paradoxical: his lack of faith in machines is what allows him to conceive of a machine that will restore faith in the ability of machines.



Chapter Nine


Summary

Leo rides his bicycle home, excited at the prospect of inventing a Happiness Machine. He arrives home and is greeted by his six children with news that they have ice cream. Inside, he tells his wife of his plans, which only makes he ask if something is wrong.

Notes

This chapter sets up the main tension of this subplot, between Leo's ambitious plan for a happiness machine and the needs of his family.


Chapter Ten


Summary

As Douglas, Tom, and Grandpa walk home, they are met by Charlie Woodman, John Huff and some other boys, who take Douglas with them towards the ravine. The courthouse clock strikes eight. At nine, Douglas and Tom's mother is ironing and gives Tom money to fetch a pint of ice cream from Mrs. Singer's store before it closes. He does so and, returning with the frozen prize, asks when Dad will return from his lodge meeting. Mother tells him eleven or eleven thirty, and they settle down waiting for Douglas and father to come home. At nine thirty, Mother starts to worry, which Tom notices; she starts to call for Douglas from the front door, to no avail.

She and Tom then go for a walk to search for him, and Tom became aware of Death. The two approach the ravine, and Tom becomes aware of how alone every person in the world is, how vulnerable to Death. Mother calls out for Douglas again, and finally he emerges from the ravine's darkness. Relief sweeps over Tom and his mother, but Tom knows that the fear will never completely leave either of them. That night, Tom tells Douglas he knows only two things for sure: that nighttime is awful dark and that the ravine has no place in Mr. Auffmann's Happiness Machine. They then hear footsteps outside the house, and are assured by Mother that it's their father.


Notes

The threat of mortality - or more bluntly, death - looms over Tom and his mother regarding Doug's absence. This foreshadows Doug's own growing awareness, though it's evident he has not become fully cognizant: after all, he emerges from the ravine without any sense of the threat it poses.


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Free Online Study Guide for Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

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