Shelfari edited the themes of Dandelion Wine Tuesday, October 12, 2010.
- Edited the description of Life: Dandelion Wine is the story of a summer, but it is also a story about people's lives and what it means to live. Douglas Spaulding is the central character in the book, and the great challenge that he faces over the course of the summer is coming to terms with life. First Douglas becomes conscious of the fact that he is alive. He had never really thought about this before, and his discovery provides him with pure joy. Douglas rejoices in all of life around him. However, much of the rest of the book involves Douglas coming to terms with what inevitably follows understanding that he is alive—understanding that he must
die.Lifeis in a very simple way inseparable from death, because they are what we see as the two opposite ends of existence, and the line between them is clear. Life only has meaning as long as there is death. But to a twelve-year-old boy like Douglas, who has just found out that he is alive, grappling with the idea of death is not so easy. Death will take away all of the magic that he has just found, and so he does not accept that it will come for him. But throughout the course of the book Bradbury shows us that death is not always a bad thing. Both Helen Loomis and Great-grandma Spaulding die content. They were able to die happy because they lived their lives the way they wanted to. We cannot go through life attempting to avoid death. On the contrary, Colonel Freeleigh willingly hastens his own death in return for feeling his blood rush through his veins and his heart beat like it did when he was young and full of energy. What is important is that we constantly drink in the magic of life.LikeGrandpa Spaulding, we must see the beauty in mowing the lawn and taste the savory flavor of weeds. Douglas gets extremely sick and almost dies before Mr. Jonas comes and gives him as a gift what he forgot that he had—life. The fight with mortality became terrible for Douglas because he refused to let it go. We cannot stop death, but once we admit that then we can live life to its fullest, neither taking it for granted, nor excessively questioning the beauty it brings.
- Edited the description of Happiness: It is not surprising that a book about a child's summer should have happiness as a major theme. However, given that the story involves coming to terms with death it is significant that there is not a single episode in the novel that does not have some manner of happy ending. Everything in life is happy. Douglas and Tom are almost always happy. Happiness is not so much opposed to sadness in Dandelion Wine as it is a default state. Life is enjoyable, so people should be happy. Even in the chapters that deal with the evil things in life, like the Lonely One and his encounter with Lavinia Nebbs, there are bright spots that remind us that the evil is only part of the picture. And, besides, Lavinia Nebbs kills the Lonely One. Colonel Freeleigh is happy as he dies, as is Great-grandma Spaulding. Leo Auffmann's Happiness Machine hurts his family, but in the end Leo knows that family itself is happiness. John Huff leaves Douglas behind, but he will have fond memories of his best
friend.Everythingthat occurs can be looked at as a blessing. But Bradbury is not saying that there are not sad things in life; he is not denying that evil occurs. Rather, Bradbury points out that there are always many beautiful and grand things occurring in life, from the cutting of grass and the bottling of dandelion wine to the love between Bill Forrester and Helen Loomis. And even in sad situations we still have so much around us that is beautiful and magical, so happiness comes naturally. Bradbury paints a picture of humans as essentially happy creatures.