Dandelion Wine

by: Ray Bradbury

Symbols

Main ideas Symbols

Dandelions

The title of the book is Dandelion Wine, and so it is clear that the dandelion must have particular import. Bradbury uses the dandelion as a symbol of life itself. Cut down at the end of each month of summer, the dandelions return soon after, representing the cycle of life. Pressed into wine and bottled, the dandelion represents summer itself, and a drop of the drink brings the taste of magical life. The many bottles of wine, one for each day of the summer, represent the memories of events that have passed by, and drinking one is like remembering that particular day. The dandelion also symbolizes the magic of life, because it is a seemingly unimportant weed and yet it has such tremendous power. If from the simple dandelion comes memories, the cycle of life, and summer in a bottle, this makes it hard to deny the magic of life.

Machines

Machines are also present throughout Bradbury's novel, and they reflect the cycle of life. Douglas draws his conclusions about life through watching machines and people. The trolley stops running, the Green Machine is put away, and Leo Auffmann cannot invent a Happiness Machine. Nothing lasts forever, Douglas learns. Machines cannot be used to thwart human limitations either, although Douglas tries with a last ditch effort to have the Tarot Witch make him immortal. Machines are built, they run down, and eventually they are replaced. This is not a pretty metaphor for human existence, but if we add in an undetermined amount of time during which the machine runs well then it does come pretty close to describing the human life cycle. On the other hand, precisely because they do not last forever, machines may become a part of the magic of life. The lawn mower is magical to Grandpa Spaulding, and the trolley is magical to Douglas. They become an integral part of people's memories, and that way they do achieve immortality.