Free Online Study Guide for Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury |
Previous Page | Table of Contents
| Next Page
Downloadable / Printable Version
DANDELION WINE: PRINTABLE BOOK SUMMARY DOWNLOAD / GUIDE
Mailman Sam Brown comes
home to his wife, Elmira, and tells her about some mail he delivered to Clara
Goodwater, who lives up the street: books about magic and the occult, and Clara
had even told him she's studying to be a first-class witch. Elmira spies Tom Spaulding
on her front lawn and takes him with her to confront Clara: along the way, she
has one of her frequent accidents but now attributes it to Clara's magic. At Clara's
front porch, accusations fly between the two women: of Sam spying on people's
mail, of Elmira not being invited to the Sandwich Club meetings even if that's
the regular day she meets her Grandma, and ultimately that Clara has been using
her witchcraft to secure her longstanding presidency of the Honeysuckle Ladies
Lodge. Elmira intends to run for president at the next election, which happens
to be tomorrow.
Clara shows off the various magical accoutrements that
she's gathered, all for the sake of her young cousin Raoul. She also points out
that for the past ten years, Elmira has consistently nominated herself for the
Honeysuckle Ladies Lodge presidency and received exactly one vote each time: her
own. Elmira accuses Clara of being responsible for all the ill-timed accidents
she's had that kept her from winning the much-valued office. Elmira plans to bill
Clara for all the injuries she suffered, obviously caused by malicious magic.
Clara figures how much that amount can be and points out Elmira is the second
clumsiest woman in Green Town; when Elmira refuses to back down, Clara threatens
to use magic spells on Elmira after all.
Elmira decides to fight fire
with fire, good magic against bad, with an innocent boy such as Tom by her side.
Tom protests that his mother doesn't think him all that innocent, but Elmira pays
him no heed: even if Clara makes voodoo dolls of her, Elmira will still battle
for the presidency. As she leaves the Goodwater house, Elmira's toe is run over
by a car.
That night, Elmira Brown tabulates the costs that Clara Goodwater's
magic has had on her. In the morning, she goes to the library for books on white
magic, then the drugstore for ingredients to make her potion. Sam smells the foul-smelling
potion and advises she drink it when she arrives at the Honeysuckle Ladies Lodge,
or else she may not be able to make it up the stairs. She then fetches her talisman,
Tom Spaulding, and heads to the lodge for the election. As president, Clara called
the lodge to order at one thirty that afternoon. Elmira drinks her special potion
and promises to exorcise the witch in their midst - by which she had to clarify
that she meant Clara Goodwater. As Elmira continues, the potion takes its toll
on her and she begins to make even less sense.
The votes finally take place and again, Elmira is the only
one to vote for herself. She then sees Clara Goodwater pull out a small wax doll
with rusty thumbtacks in it, and asks Tom to take her to the ladies room. Unfortunately,
Elmira steers herself the wrong way and she falls down the stair well - all forty
steps of it. Somehow, she only came out of this bruised and battered, but with
no broken bones or even sprains or twists. Clara rushes to her and promises Elmira
if she doesn't die, she'll only use her magic for good from now on, and will even
make Elmira the new president of the Honeysuckle Ladies Lodge. At the top of the
staircase, Tom witnesses all this and thinks someone died. As the remaining one
hundred twenty-three lodge members descend on the two women at the bottom of the
stairs, Tom sneaks out, as he was no longer needed.
The comedic tone of this story is a slight departure from the rest of
the book. The ambiguity remains at the end: is Clara a witch, or was she simply
teasing Elmira with her doll? However, the value of life is maintained by the
deal Clara strikes with Elmira, for fear of her death. While this all seems like
so much twittery and silliness to Tom (and, in turn, the readers) this story is
another affirmation of the miracles of small-town life and the struggle against
Tom recounts the story of Elmira Brown to Douglas, who is amazed
at the rich variety of people and events that Green Town has to offer.
Yet another interlude that reminds readers of the list-keeping
for summer, as well as provides extra commentary on the previous story.
Previous Page | Table
of Contents | Next Page
Downloadable / Printable Version
Online Study Guide for Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury