Study Guide

Dandelion Wine Tone

By Ray Bradbury


Nostalgic and Whimsical

Bradbury is famously cynical about both man and machine (just read Fahrenheit 451 for proof), but Dandelion Wine is a sort of literary Norman Rockwell painting. While we have touches of Bradbury's trademark sci-fi and fantasy in Leo Auffmann's Happiness Machine and Mr. Jonas's potions, the nostalgia in Dandelion Wine verges on sappy at times. Just look at this line:

Douglas licked the yellow Ticonderoga pencil, whose name he dearly loved. (6.20)

Bradbury's definitely looking at his boyhood through rose-colored glasses here. Either than or he has romantic feelings for pencils… for his sake, our fingers are crossed for the former explanation.

But two things keep the book from being too sugary-sweet to stand: Bradbury's cynicism about technology and the strange, creepy stories he interjects. He's not afraid to let us see the Happiness Machine burst into flames, the Tarot Witch get tossed into the ravine by an angry alcoholic, or Elizabeth Ramsell's tongue hanging out. Dandelion Wine is a study in how a storyteller at the top of his craft can write about his happy memories without drowning us in clichés. Take notes future writers of the world.

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