Dandelion Wine
Ray Bradbury
Contributed by Loretta Ingwersen
Chapter 18
Summary

Miss Fern and Miss Roberta arrive home panicked, believing they ran over Mister Quartermain in the Green Machine. Hiding in the attic, they’re anxious about the imminent arrival of the police, but instead find Douglas Spaulding at their doorstop, most likely asking for a ride in their vehicle. The ladies bemoan the salesman William Tara, who had sold them the Green Machine in the first place, emphasizing the values of this quiet electric car. The young ladies continue to bemoan the accident of this afternoon, and that running away from the scene was criminal: Mister Quartermain had appeared from nowhere and hit him, leaving him lying on the sidewalk.

They hear a knock on the door and discover it’s Douglas. Finally, they decide to prepare for dinner, as their younger brother Frank, only fifty-six, will arrive home soon. The sisters decide they’ve become too feeble to handle the Green Machine and should put it away - they will keep it, but will no longer drive it. Roberta goes to the garage to disconnect the battery. Meanwhile, Frank comes home and has a message from Douglas Spaulding: that the ladies should not worry, he saw everything and it was all right. Frank asks what this means and Fern claims to have no idea. Roberta honks the horn three times, surprising Frank, and the three sit down for supper.

Analysis

This story is a lesson on the reckless use of technology and the regret felt by its owners. The danger of the Green Machine is itself emphasized by the huckster who convinces Miss Fern and Miss Roberta to buy the vehicle in the first place: as with the Happiness Machine that lured Leo from his family, the Green Machine seduces the sisters to buy something that they can no longer control.

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