Study Guide

Dandelion Wine Mortality

By Ray Bradbury


In <em>Dandelion Wine</em>,<em> </em>Green Town's full of death, which is a pretty rotten deal for a kid who's just become aware of his own mortality (we're looking at you, Doug). But with the exception of Elizabeth Ramsell, the one victim of the Lonely One we see, the folks who die are more or less at peace with it. Great-grandma Spaulding, for instance, actually decides to die one day. We love the idea that you can actually be in control like that, without doing anything drastic—one day you just get old and tired, crawl into bed, and that's that. If only everyone could go that way…

Questions About Mortality

  1. Do you think it's possible to decide to die when you're tired, or decide to live when you're sick? How much control do our minds have over our bodies?
  2. Do you agree with Colonel Freeleigh's nurse that it's a bad idea for old people who aren't in the best of health to get excited? Do you think Bradbury agrees with her? Use the text to support your answer. 
  3. Doug sees a man die in a movie and runs to the bathroom to throw up. Why is he so affected by this? What does it tell you about how he feels about death? How about how he feels about life? 
  4. Why is Doug so attached to the Tarot Witch, and why does her "death" in the ravine affect him so strongly? Why does he feel compelled to save her?

Chew on This

Mr. Jonas saves Doug's life by bringing him two bottles he says are full of cool winds. What they are really full of, though, is belief in Doug's ability to live, and this is what actually cures him.

In <em>Dandelion Wine</em>,<em> </em>it is impossible to die "the same fool" as you are born—life, even in its smallest moments, is constantly changing the characters.

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