Dandelion Wine – Chapter Ten

Chapter Ten concerns the night. Interposed between Leo’s stories is an extra story referring to Douglas’ family. It begins without fanfare. We find Tom running to Mrs. Singer’s store to get ice cream at nine o’clock on the same night for himself and Douglas. However, by nine-thirty, Douglas has not returned. This causes his worried mother to go to the ravine with Tom. Tom, in spite of the darkness of the night, feels safe because he is holding his mother’s hand and because he has a little understanding of death. His sense of security, however, vanishes when he feels his mother’s hand tremble and realizes that she is afraid, like him. The ensuing revelation that apparently unfazed grown-ups feel loneliness and pain too unnerves him and makes him aware of the darkness surrounding them. Just before he feels overwhelmed, Douglas and his friends return, breaking the spell of aloneness. Tom later tells Douglas that the ravine would not belong in Leo’s Happiness Machine, thus contrasting the pleasures humans wish for with the realities they receive instead.