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Free Online Study Guide for Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

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DANDELION WINE - ONLINE STUDY GUIDE / FREE BOOKNOTES


Chapter Twenty-Four


Summary

Colonel Freeleigh wakes from a bad dream in his wheelchair and calls Mexico City to speak to his old friend Jorge. He asks Jorge to put the phone to the window so he can hear the sounds: Jorge obliges and the Colonel is taken back to the experiences of that faraway city. A knock at the door of his room makes the Colonel hide the phone receiver; his nurse enters and as she takes his pulse, notices he's excited. She finds the receiver in his lap robe and hangs up the phone for him, chiding him for all the agitation he causes himself, with the phone and the boys that visit.

The Colonel defends the boys, explaining how they listen politely and he tells them of things they'd never heard before. The nurse had prevented the Colonel's grandson from having the phone removed but now thinks it's necessary; she puts the Colonel to bed, then takes his wheelchair away. He hears her making a phone call and he worries about the calls across South America that he can no longer make. Tenuously, he manages to cross the room on his own two feet to make one more phone call to Jorge in Mexico City. Jorge makes him promise that this will be the last time, and he again holds the phone to the window so that the Colonel can be in touch with Mexico City again.

Time passes; three boys, including Douglas, arrive at the Colonel's room, as he had called and said he needed visitors. Douglas finds the Colonel dead, his hands still on the phone. Douglas puts the receiver to his ear and hears only static. Two thousand miles away, a window closes.


Notes

Technology is the last friend of Colonel Freeleigh, as the telephone is the last reminder of his life before becoming an invalid: it is his tether to his past, as well as a tether to his life. When one is cut off from him, so is the other. Douglas' discovery of the Colonel's body corresponds to his growing awareness of death and mortality.



Chapter Twenty-Five


Summary

Douglas and Tom are playing on the Civil War cannon in the courthouse square, when Douglas suddenly realizes all those who died when Colonel Freeleigh passed: Ching Ling Soo, Abraham Lincoln, a herd of bison, and so many others. Tom tells his brother to go home and write it all down in his tablet, and Douglas agrees with this. Tom continues to play at the cannon.


Notes

This chapter expands on a simple metaphor: that the people we remember are, in a sense, kept alive by our memories. The idea of a person being the sum of his experiences and encounters is given weight in this observation, but in remembering the Colonel and his stories, Douglas and Tom do keep the people alive. For them, at least, Ching Ling Soo and the others will live on, including the Colonel himself. Tom is still too young to be fully aware of mortality, and so his cannon games - where he pretends to kill his brother - are innocent of the meanings Douglas now invests in death.


Chapter Twenty-Six


Summary

In the basement, Grandfather Spaulding and Douglas counting the bottles from their second harvest of dandelion wine. As the bottles are counted, Douglas remembers the date of each bottle and what happened on that day. Douglas is in a mournful mood, and considering all the things and people lost this summer. Not pleased with his grandson's attitude, Grandpa makes Douglas take a sip of dandelion wine and makes him run around.


Notes

This quiet interlude is the reminder of the process of saving a bit of summer. The metafictive element is emphasized as each bottle refers to an incident recounted in the book. With the growing awareness of mortality, however, Douglas needs a reminder of vitality and life, as seen by his quick hit of dandelion wine.


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Free Online Study Guide for Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

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