Study Guide

Dandelion Wine Chapter 21

By Ray Bradbury

Chapter 21

  • A few facts about Doug's friend John Huff: He's a great pathfinder, he can climb walls and swing on branches faster than anyone else, he's good at picking peaches, and he is, overall, "the only god living inthe whole of Green Town, Illinois during the twentieth century" that Doug can think of.
  • So of course we know that, when Doug's hanging out with him one beautiful summer day, something bad is going to happen to him. We've seen enough tearjerker movies to know how this works. 
  • And indeed, the bad thing happens: John tells Doug his dad's gotten a job in Milwaukee, and his family's moving away.
  • Doug imagines that the weight of the town, "its houses, their bulk," might trap John and keep him from leaving. 
  • John asks Doug to swear that he will never forget him. When Doug says he won't, John doesn't buy it, so he asks Doug to close his eyes and name the color of his (John's) eyes. 
  • Doug says brown, which is wrong, oops—nice memory, Memory Boy. 
  • Doug gets angry and turns John around to stare into his face, trying to memorize it. His eyes are green. Doug tries to say that green is almost brown, but John doesn't buy it, because he's smart. 
  • John takes off running, and Doug lays down his theory if people run, time runs. So Doug sets his watch back an hour and pulls out the watch stem, which is how you stop time on a wind-up watch, which is how people rolled back in 1928. 
  • John punches him, but not hard. 
  • John, Doug, Tom, and Charlie go play by the train tracks. Charlie talks about how when he grows up, he's moving to Cincinnati to work on the railroad. 
  • Doug decides they should play a game called Statue—you know, the one where the players have to freeze. He tells John that he will never unfreeze him, which doesn't sound like a very friendly thing to do. 
  • It ultimately falls to John to unfreeze himself. His family is waiting for him, and he's gotta jet to Wisconsin. (And by jet, we totally mean train.) 
  • Doug goes home and stands on his porch shaking his fist, yelling into the air at John that they are no longer friends. 
  • He goes into his house, climbs the stairs in the dark, and mutters aloud that he hates John. 
  • As Doug reaches the top of the stairs, alone, the chapter ends with ellipses. Because when your best friend moves away, all you have left is dots.

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