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Free Online Study Guide for Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

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DANDELION WINE - FREE PLOT SUMMARY DOWNLOAD


Chapter Twenty-Seven


Summary

On the first day of August, Bill Forrester drives Douglas to the drugstore, where Bill orders an old fashioned lime-vanilla ice. Miss Helen Loomis approaches him and commends his choice of flavor, then invites the two young men to sit with her. Miss Loomis identifies Douglas as a Spaulding and William Forrester as the columnist for the local newspaper. Bill confesses to knowing who she is and admits he was in love with her once. Miss Loomis invites William to visit him for tea the next day, and he promises to come. He is true to his word and over tea Miss Loomis describes Cairo to William in great detail, taking him there with her words.

William thinks he can catch a glimpse of Miss Loomis when she was young, but it's a glimpse he cannot hold too long. For two and a half weeks, William visits her every afternoon and she takes him all over the world with her words. Miss Loomis finally asks William about what he meant when he said he fell in love with her and he explains: a newspaper had printed a picture of her in an article about a charity event, but the picture dated back to 1853. He tore out the picture and intended to meet the woman in the photo, only to discover the truth behind the timeline.

In turn, Helen tells William of the man from seventy years ago who he reminded her of, a man named Robert; she asks if she calls William "Robert" on the street, would he turn around? Neither Bill or Helen know for sure.


At the end of August, Helen tells William that she has been writing a letter to him, a special letter to be read only after she dies in the next few days. William protests but she accepts her impending death with the wisdom of the aged. They agree that their time together was very good, and she makes him promise one thing: that he not live too old, perhaps dying before he's fifty. This way, the two of them will meet each other in their next lives and be the same age. At last, for their last talk, William asks Helen to take him back to Green Town when she was young. Two days later, the special letter arrives. Douglas hands it to Bill, who takes him out for a treat at the drug store. There, he reads the letter, contemplates it, and orders a dish of lime-vanilla ice.


Notes

In Helen we find a counterpart to the Colonel's Time Machine: she is a space machine, whose stores create instantaneous travel to exotic places in the same way the Colonel's story create instantaneous travel to exotic times. The implicit romance of the story plays with the notion of destiny: that as a system striving for order, the universe is sometimes mistimed, as seen by the differing ages of the potential lovers. The reference to reincarnation again points to a distinctly non-Judeo-Christian view of the book, which emphasizes a kind of secular paganism with touches of Eastern mysticism.


Chapter Twenty-Eight


Summary

Walking with Tom and Charlie, Douglas wants to know what happened to happy endings in life. Tom opines that going to bed at night is a happy ending every day, but Douglas is talking about Bill Forrester and Miss Loomis, which made him bawl as he discovered the details. The boys arrive at the ice house, which they enter in silence. There they bask in the cold, chew icicles, and speak of the only person who lives in such cold: The Lonely One. Tom suddenly screams, but it's only Charlie dropping some ice down his back.


Notes

Ice is a reminder of winter and mortality, but also a relief in the heat of summertime. This reinforces a sense of balance, that awareness of death is a way to better appreciate life. This interlude also sets up for the story of the Lonely One, as the boys' visit of the icehouse is a metaphorical mirror of the readers entering the realm of death.


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Free Online Study Guide for Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

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