Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury uses an episodic style in various
situations to show the culture of Greentown in 1928. Itís a novel, an
autobiographical sort of novel, about one summer in the life of young
Douglas Spaulding. Itís about living and dying, about growing old and
staying young. In short itís about life itself.
The story is set in Green Town, Illinois during the summer of 1928.
Waukegan , Illinois, where Bradbury spent some of his formative years, is the
model for Green Town. A place where really do touch the middle of the
streets; where families sit on the porch of a summer night, drinking lemonade
and sending fire crackers into the night sky. Where family is still an
important concept. Bradbury uses the different experiences Douglas
encounters during the summer to set the scene and culture in Greentown.
The way the plot progresses while the outside culture is expressed is
something of literary genius. From the episode where Douglas Spaulding and
goes berry picking and relaxes he is alive strongly sets the scene. When
Douglas ventures out on his berry picking episode he realizes he is indeed
alive. To the episode in which Douglas contemplates death after the movie
theater by the ravine sets both the scene and culture for Greentown of 1928.
The way the ďLonely OneĒ strikes utter fear into these people shows the
innocence and culture of this small community. Dandelion Wine is truly
filed with wonderment and magic. From the deep, dark frightening ravine, to
the way a new pair of tennis shows feel; to the ritual of making dandelion
wine to a special ice cream enjoyed on a hot summer night. Bradbury uses
these scenes and events to tell a story, a meaning and sets the scene for the
culture of Greentown in 1928.
You donít need to be a child nor have lived in a small town to identify
with Douglas Spaulding and the things that he experiences during that
magical summer of 1928. Bradburry does require you to have a sense of
wonder about the world around you. Another example of the culture of
Greentown is shown in an episodic fashion is that of Douglasís fascination
with the witch Douglas seaís in the penny arcade. The witch Douglas
believes that will bring him immortality, at least in some way. His
experience
of seeing his grandmother dying in times pass puts death as somewhat of an
enemy to Douglas. His journeyís bring him to different learning experiences
which set the aura of this wonderful time in 1928.
In this novel it is not science fiction as much as it is a beautifully
crafted novel about the wonder of being a child in times that were far less
complicated, and full of simple pleasures. Bradbury utilizes the plot in setting
the scene in which Douglas discovers the wonderment and magic of
Greentown. Douglasís strong urge to discover in his formative years sets the
complete scene for the book. Douglas rather than the narrator is used to set
the scene for the magical summer in Greentown of 1928.