Dandelion Wine
Ray Bradbury
Contributed by Loretta Ingwersen
Chapter 8
Summary

Walking past the United Cigar Store with Douglas and Tom, Grandfather Spaulding runs into Leo Auffmann, the town jeweler. Leo is alarmed at talk of violence among some other men, and Grandfather proposes he invent a brighter future, the way he invented the bicycle he’s riding on and some penny arcade contraptions; Douglas pipes in and dubs such an invention a Happiness Machine. Leo finds some sense in this, as machines up to now have only led to misery. Leo pedals off on his bicycle - Grandfather tries to dissuade him from this project, but Douglas believes he can do it.

Analysis

Though he is an inventor, Leo has a fear of letting machineries run too far ahead of people. This is a reflection of Bradbury’s own thematic concerns, evident throughout this novel as well as his science fiction stories. However, Leo believes a happiness machine would be an antidote to this, which is paradoxical: his lack of faith in machines is what allows him to conceive of a machine that will restore faith in the ability of machines.

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