"You want to
see the <em>real </em>Happiness
Machine? The one they patented a couple thousand years ago, it still runs, not
good, all the time, no! but it runs. It's been here all along." (13.129)
Do you think Leo and his family are ultimately happier than
they were before the whole Happiness Machine debacle because they learned to
appreciate what they've had all along?
These great wire wands were handed
around so they stood, Douglas, Tom, Grandma, Great-grandma, and mother poised
like a collection of witches and familiars over the dusty patterns of old
Question: Do you think this passage implies that Doug and
his family are Armenian? Why or why not?
"You may be my brother and
maybe I hate you sometimes, but stick around, all right?" (22.3)
Think about Bradbury's use of words here: Instead of the
more obvious <em>I may hate you
sometimes</em>, he says, "maybe I hate you sometimes." There's
less commitment in the phrasing Bradbury uses, more reservation about these
"I'm sorry, Colonel. Your
grandson will have to know about this. I prevented his having the phone taken
out last week. Now it looks like I'll have to go ahead." (25.36)
So many people fear becoming childlike in their old age,
and it's happened to Colonel Freeleigh: His grandson is acting as his parent. Based
on the text of Chapter 25, you could argue that Freeleigh chooses death over
living like this.
"I'm not really dying today. No
person ever died that had a family. I'll be around a long time. A thousand
years from now a whole township of my offspring will be biting sour apples in
the gumwood shade." (32.33)
Insofar as family is connected both horizontally (think:
siblings) <em>and </em>vertically
(think: grandparents and grandchildren), we go forward endlessly, even after
our own bodies give out.
"Death won't get a crumb by
my mouth I won't keep and savor. So don't you worry over me. Now, all of you
go, and let me find my sleep." (32.37)
Great-grandma Spaulding chooses to die alone, listening to
her relatives moving about in the house, rather than have them stay by her
bedside. Compare this to Doug lying on the porch listening to the grownups
talk, taking comfort in their conversation without paying attention to what
they're saying. Both are comforted by the incidental sounds of people in the
"Gosh, right down the main
street we go, all four of us, you, me, Dad, the witch! Dad's one in a million!"
Do you ever hear kids talk about their parents like this
today? How would you express the same sentiment in more contemporary, less
Grandma, he had often wanted to
say, is this where the world began? For surely it had begun in no other than a
place like this. The kitchen, without doubt, was the center of all creation,
all things revolved about it; it was the pediment that sustained the temple.
"The pediment that sustained the temple" means <em>the base upon which the building
was built</em>—or, in this case, upon which the family was built. Doug
could be referring to the kitchen as the center of both home and family here.
Her hands then, like the hands of
Great-grandma before her, were Grandma's mystery, delight, and life. (39.33)
One advantage of having several generations of your
ancestors in one house would be knowing stuff life this. Did you ever see your
great-grandma's hands? Do you remember what they looked like? How much do you
think firsthand experience impacts connection across generations?