Study Guide

Dandelion Wine Chapter 30

By Ray Bradbury

Chapter 30

  • Lavinia Nebbs, who considers herself an old maid because she's in her thirties and not yet married, decides to go to the movies one night with her friend Francine.
  • As they're walking to the theater, they pass Miss Fern and Miss Roberta on their porch. 
  • Fern and Roberta ask where they're going, and they say they're on their way to the Elite Theater to see Charlie Chaplin. 
  • Fern says, "Won't catch us out on no night like this. Not with the Lonely One strangling women!" 
  • Their plan, which sounds far more rational than going to a Charlie Chaplin flick, is to lock themselves up in their closet with a gun. 
  • Francine gets a little freaked, and Lavinia says the old ladies just like to hear themselves talk. 
  • Francine reminds her that Hattie McDollis was killed at the beginning of the summer, Roberta Ferry the month before that, and now Elizabeth Ramsell's disappeared. Yes, this is the first time you've heard of these characters; you're not lost. 
  • Lavinia, who is one gutsy chick, says that not only are they going to the movies, they're walking through the ravine. 
  • Oh gee, that sounds like a great idea… not. 
  • Sure enough, they find Elizabeth Ramsell dead, with her eyes wide open and her tongue hanging out of her mouth. Oh Elizabeth Ramsell, we hardly knew ye. 
  • The police show up about that time, just as Francine's hugging Lavinia and talking about how freezing cold she feels. But Lavinia's determined: They're going to walk through the ravine, pick up their friend Helen Greer, and go on to the show. 
  • They run into Doug, standing at the edge of the ravine. Francine yells at him to go home, and he turns and runs. 
  • Francine and Lavinia pick up Helen, and they keep walking. Another character, Frank Dillon (who may or may not be Frank, the brother of Fern and Roberta; their last name is never given), jumps out from behind a tree and scares them, saying he's the Lonely One. Lavinia yells at him, then they blow him off and head for the drugstore to get candy for the show. 
  • The druggist mentions that that very afternoon, when Lavinia came in for a chocolate soda, a man in the store thought she was pretty and asked about her. And because the druggist apparently has the IQ of a gnat, he told the man where she lived. 
  • Francine and Helen flip out; Lavinia says he was just some guy. 
  • Either Lavinia is the toughest old maid in the universe, or the stupidest. 
  • They go to the show, where a strange man in a suit (the description makes him sound a little like Slender Man, which is obviously terrifying) sits behind them. Helen runs screaming out of the theater and goes to get the manager. 
  • But oops, it's just the theater manager's brother from Racine, which has them all laughing as they sit at the drugstore having vanilla sodas after the show. Maybe all the sugar she eats gives Lavinia super not-afraid powers or something. 
  • The druggist closes up the shop, and they head for home. Lavinia sees the other two home first, then heads back to her house alone… through the ravine. 
  • And, because she's Super Lavinia, she survives. But she's pretty spooked herself at this point, finally
  • Not helping is the fact that she thinks she sees a man waiting for her at the other edge of the ravine… but, as in all good horror movies, by the time she gets there, he's gone. 
  • She runs into her house, slams the door, and locks it, vowing to never walk through the ravine again, which we're thinking is a pretty good idea. 
  • But as she locks the door, someone behind her clears his throat. 
  • Eek…

This is a premium product

Tired of ads?

Join today and never see them again.

Please Wait...