Dandelion Wine, like The Martian Chronicles, was constructed from previously published stories. Bradbury made a significantly greater effort to turn these stories into a unified book, however, by revising the stories with care and by writing connecting material. He also provided a greater impression of unity than in The Martian Chronicles by dropping the stories’ original titles and using no table of contents. Dandelion Wine is perhaps the most autobiographical of his novels. Elements of Bradbury can be seen in both Douglas Spaulding and his younger brother, Tom. Green Town, on Lake Michigan, is similar to Bradbury’s childhood home, Waukegan, Illinois, and the Spaulding family is like the Bradbury family.
Readers have noticed the similarities between Dandelion Wine and Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio. Bradbury’s book differs in that the predominant point of view is preadolescent, so that the spiritual anguish and the problems of sexuality that are important in Anderson’s book are virtually absent in Bradbury’s. The childish exuberance in the feeling of being alive that is a central theme both exceeds the energy and falls short of the profundity one sees in George Willard, Anderson’s youthful protagonist. Bradbury presents a vivid picture of a boy’s life in a small midwestern town early in the twentieth century.
In the summer of 1928, Doug awakens to the momentous sense that being physically and spiritually alive is a great gift, and he begins to keep a written record of his life. This consists of two lists: One contains events that happen every summer like rituals—“Ceremonies”; the other contains new and unprecedented events—“Revelations.”
Once Bradbury has established Doug as a boy awakening to a sense of the wonder of life and wanting to understand it in his...
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