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Free Online Study Guide for Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

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DANDELION WINE - FREE ONLINE NOTES / LITERARY CRITICISM


Chapter Thirty-Five


Summary

One man, horse, and wagon is known by all the inhabitants of Green Town: the junkman Ned Jonas and his cart. Children can detect his arrival before the adults, and he never asks for money for his goods. He isn't crazy, but a former Chicago businessman who wanted something to do for the remaining years of his life. He sees what he's doing as a redistribution: taking what someone no longer wants and finding a home for it with someone who would indeed want it. Especially with the children, he makes sure what they choose from the wagon is something they truly want; when they are sure, they take it and bring something they no longer want for his wagon.


Notes

The redistribution of wealth that Mr. Jonas provides is utopian, in a sense: it doesn't involve money, but a purely abstract measurement of value. If anything, it smacks of a communist ideal where property is valued only for as long as it has real value to the owner, then gets passed back to the community and its next owner through Jonas.


Chapter Thirty-Six


Summary

On one of the hottest days of the summer, Tom tries to wake Douglas but is unable to do so. He calls his mother to tell her that Douglas is sick with a high fever; a doctor arrives at noon but doesn't know what's wrong. Douglas' family tries to cool him down with ice, as he has fever dreams from events in the summer. At four-fifteen in the afternoon, Mr. Jonas comes by in his wagon and Tom tells the junk man of his brother dying.


Seven that evening, Jonas speaks to Mrs. Spaulding, wishing to tell the sick boy something; she politely refuses him, as Douglas is not conscious. At eight o'clock, the doctor returns and at nine o'clock Douglas' family sets up a cot outside, under the apple tree, where he can sleep in a cool environment. Mr. Jonas visits Douglas as he sleeps, giving him two bottles of fresh air to drink. As Jonas leaves, Douglas wakes. Later still, an elated Tom reports to his parents that Douglas' fever has broken; they watch him as he sleeps.


Notes

If summer is life and natural pleasures, it reaches a boiling point in this chapter. If anything, Douglas is at risk of being consumed by the power of summer and life, as various machines threatened to consume their users in the novel. The fever dreams and Tom's talk with Mr. Jonas indicate that Douglas has been overwhelmed by his experiences of the summer, that he needs to remember that there is pleasure in the midst of change and turmoil. Jonas provides exactly that with his bottled air.


Chapter Thirty-Seven


Summary

The next morning, a silence falls on the town, heralding the start of summer rains. Douglas is now inside, in bed, and begins to write in his yellow pad.


Notes

The impulse to write, to take note of all that happens, is as strong in Douglas as before. If anything, one may assume his brush with death only reinforces the urge to write.


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Free Online Study Guide for Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

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