Theme of Death in Dandelion Wine-Analysis essay


Please write an analysis essay. In the book the theme of the ravine is “Death” Highlighted part will help you to understand the theme. Please analyze the theme.

Sample paper

Theme of Death in Dandelion Wine

Dandelion Wine tells the story about living and the close connection that all humans share with death. Douglas Spaulding, the main character in the story, is an innocent young man who comes to the reality of life during summer. As the summer breaks, Douglas realizes that he is indeed alive, an awesome feeling to say. Nonetheless, Douglas also realizes that because of the fact that he is alive, one day he must perish from the earth. This realization creates mixed feelings to Douglas. Considering his tender age, Douglas fails to accept that death will one day take him away. This paper examines the author’s views on death and the integration of the theme throughout the text by use of symbolism.

The ravine is one of the most common elements of the story. As a young boy, Douglas’ brother would hide in a ravine ahead of him, and while walking nearby, he would grab Douglas, causing him to run sacred all the way home. The ravine represents the dangers inherent in nature. Although the ravine permeates danger, people must interact with it constantly. For instance, Lavinia must cross the ravine in total darkness and all alone, to her house. She finally reaches her house safely, after experiencing fear while crossing the ravine alone. The ravine also represents a perpetual war pitting the good against evil. Wondering alone, Douglas comes to the rim of the ravine. As the writer says, “the town, divided, fell away in halves” (p. 66). This indicates that the ravine split the town into two segments.

Bradbury associates the ravine with evil, and the metaphorical hell. The ravine is associated with dangers that pervade lives of individuals. The descriptions of the ravine point towards evil in that it is dark, deep and mysterious. The ravine instills fear upon all individuals who go near. There is close association between death and the ravine, where ants, grasshoppers, and other insects thrive. Man and nature are in constant tag of war, where man seizes land, and the land takes everything back later. On this one, there is no ultimate winner. The ravine was threatening as it slowly edged towards town. The ravine also represents nature and humankind in ways. The ravine separates the untamed wilderness and civilization, acting as the middle ground.

Related: Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

Douglas, Grandpa Spaulding, Great-grandma Spaulding, and Helen Loomis help readers identify the various stages of awareness that people go through in life. The first stage is of pure innocence, believing that one is immortal. Before Douglas reached age 12, he was innocent, and had not actually realized that he was alive and bound to die one day. Later, he enters the second stage upon realizing that he is alive and that one day he will die. On the other hand, Grandpa Spaulding is at the advanced stages of awareness and self-acceptance. He sees beauty even in little things such as mowing the lawn, taking a walk during a fine spring morning, and other little things that people take for granted. As Grandpa says, “it’s the little savors and little things that count more than big ones” (p. 153). This is something that individuals realize when they are at an advanced age.

Great-grandma Spaulding and Helen Loomis are at the third stage of awareness just like Grandpa Spaulding. They both die happy, and seem to accept their ultimate “fate” that is death. Great-grandma Spaulding advises Tom that there comes a time when everyone must say good-bye to friends, which is all a natural process. From her words, it is possible to learn that death is a natural process, and only a function of time. Nonetheless, the realization that every individual will one day perish should not serve to dampen our spirits. Great-grandma Spaulding and Helen Loomis had both led their lives the way they wanted, and had accomplished most of the things they wished. As such, life is like the summer, which always comes and goes.

Bradbury refers to the summer on numerous occasions, which represents symbolism. Summer represents life. Just like life, the summer comes and ends, with the characteristic cycle of death and rebirth. During summer, there is an abrupt burst of life. Then, Douglas contracts a fever, which almost takes his life during summer. By breathing from a bottle of cold winter air, he is able to regain good health. This shows the balance of life, as too much winter may also be dangerous. Winter comes to break the monotony of life, and such is the beauty of nature. The dandelion wine is used symbolically for summer. During summer, Douglas and Tom would go out in the field to pick dandelions, which they would give to Grandfather Spaulding to use in preparing wine. Grandfather Spaulding would later store the wine for winter days. Sipping wine would bring back memories of the past summer season. As such, it is a way of storing the memories.

The theme of death is evident throughout the story. The author highlights that life is a continuous struggle with death. Ultimately, humans must yield to mortality. This gives rise to the critical question on how humans ought to enjoy life knowing too well that one day it will end. The world is full of suffering and death, yet humans are supposed to lead a happy life. The author notes that nature achieves balance through life and death. Douglas, who is lost, wonders across a ravine and into a town where there was “only growing earth and a million deaths and rebirths every year.” This shows the continuity of life on earth, marked by deaths and rebirths, and the cycle continues indefinitely. Although death exists, it is not an entirely bad thing.


The main point that Bradbury highlights is that life is inseparable from death. Nonetheless, individuals should not in any way lead sad lives since death is inevitable. In fact, Bradbury suggests that death is not an entirely bad thing, but a natural process that individuals must accept and be ready at all times. Living a happy life is not about enjoying big things. As Grandpa Spaulding highlights, the little things matter most in life. Individuals should learn to live simple lives, which guarantee living life to the fullest or being content of the life that one has led.


Bradbury, R. (1965). Dandelion wine. London: Hart-Davis.