Study Guide

Dandelion Wine Chapter 10

By Ray Bradbury

Chapter 10

  • And here, things start to get really creepy: Our friend Doug straight-up disappears one night.
  • Where is he, you ask? The ravine… 
  • But he's with his pals John and Charlie. 
  • Tom hangs out with Grandfather Spaulding being all psyched about the Happiness Machine; Grandfather Spaulding tells him not to hold his breath, though. 
  • Then Tom's back home with his mom, who's ironing clothes with water sprinkled out of a ketchup bottle to make steam. 
  • Tom's sitting by the front door as the courthouse clock chimes nine, and he starts feeling dread because Doug's not home yet. Neither is his dad, who's at a lodge meeting until 11:30PM. 
  • His mom suggests he go to Mrs. Singer's store down the street and buy some ice cream before they close. She gives him some cash and he goes and gets it.
  • As he leaves, the store lights get turned off and the town goes dark, you know, because there was no 7/11 or Taco Bell in 1928. 
  • Tom and his mom eat the ice cream, then make the couch into a bed so they can sleep downstairs. Bradbury uses the most awesome verb of the whole book to describe fluffing up the pillows: flump. 
  • Mom's starting to freak a little at this point, too. She calls for Doug from the porch, then from the yard. And then—dun dun dun—she takes Tom by the hand and they head off toward the ravine. 
  • Tom starts thinking about death, and we learn the horrifying fact that he and Doug once had a little sister, and when he was six, Tom found her dead in her crib. He stood there staring into her frozen blue eyes until some men came and took her away in a wicker basket. 
  • To make things even more horrifying, his mom randomly says, "The Lonely One's around again. Killing people… You never know when the Lonely One'll turn up or where." 
  • Turns out the Lonely One has killed three women in Green Town in the past three years. 
  • Just as you're considering crawling under the covers to read this book (you're not? Oh, yeah, we totally weren't either, ha ha), Doug comes running out of the ravine, totally alive and stuff. 
  • Their mom says he's going to "get a licking," but apparently not from her, because she doesn't do it. 
  • As Tom and Doug lie in bed, Tom says the ravine doesn't belong in the Happiness Machine. Like, duh. 
  • They hear their dad come home. Phew.

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