Study Guide

Dandelion Wine Memory and the Past

By Ray Bradbury

Memory and the Past

<em>Dandelion Wine</em> starts at the beginning of summer 1928 and ends at, well, summer's end. This book is Bradbury's childhood nostalgia trip, and summer lends itself well to happy childhood memories. Summer is when kids get to go out adventuring on their own, teaching themselves instead of being taught. One of the most profound lessons Doug learns is that he can become a time machine like Colonel Freeleigh by recording his memories, saving up his stories, writing down his past. You know—kind of like Bradbury does in writing this book.

Questions About Memory and the Past

  1. How might Dandelion Wine be a different story if it had taken place during the winter?
  2. Does Helen Loomis's connection with Bill Forrester convince her that reincarnation is possible? If so, how might that conviction change her feelings as she approaches death? 
  3. Is skill as a writer or storyteller an essential component of becoming a human time machine?

Chew on This

Setting <em>Dandelion Wine</em> in the summer allows Bradbury a bigger stage on which to tell his story, due to the characters' increased interaction with their neighborhood and their neighbors in warm weather. In a sense, then, summer allows for greater examination of one's memories, and therefore more time travel.

The fact that Doug and Tom help Grandpa Spaulding make dandelion wine three times each summer gives Bradbury a chance to contrast the thoughts and behavior of kids and elderly people, as well as mark Doug's changes as he grows up.

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