Dandelion Wine
Ray Bradbury
Contributed by Loretta Ingwersen
Chapter 4

Douglas is left behind by friends who run ahead of him, left near the huge ravine in the middle of town, with its path towards the ice house. There he becomes aware of how the ravine represents the tension between man and nature, that the two have struggled against each other in a way that Douglas has yet to fully understand. He remains motionless at the ravine, despite calls from his friends, unsure of why he didn’t feel as alive, suspecting it ties to the second ritual of summer.


The ravine is a fearsome force of nature to be respected, a complement to the beneficent nature of the fox grapes and dandelions: where we’ve seen nature as a symbol of summer and life, the ravine is a powerful symbol of mortality and death. Douglas feels alive in this dangerous area because it reminds him of the preciousness and ephemerality of his life: that is, the long-standing paradox that one can only truly enjoy life if one is aware of the imminence of death.

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