Colonel the Time Machine

By Peyton T., 9th Grade

August 2015

Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine is about Douglas and his friends’ summer in Green Town and their encounters with different characters, one being Colonel Freeleigh.  The boys, trapped in the present, find Colonel fascinating because he is like a time machine which can travel in time and reveal wisdom about past wars. When John is moving away, he is afraid that he isn’t going to remember anything about Green Town; John is also afraid that Douglas, his closest friend, may forget him. In fact, John confesses that sometimes he forgets what his own parents look like. “I got to go in my folks’ room and look at their faces while they sleep, to be sure! And I go back to my room and lose it again” (105). This remark shows that the boys are trapped in the present, and this makes John forget the past. Douglas and his friends visit Colonel, so they can know what happened in the past.  The boys think Colonel is a time machine and tell him about this fact. Colonel responds by saying, “‘ Why didn’t I think of it before! A Time Machine, by God, a Time Machine! […] So long, boys. Come aboard anytime!’” (87) This quote illustrates that Colonel is a time machine since he can go into his past, which seems magical to the boys who are stuck in the present. When aboard Colonel’s time machine, the boys learn about his perspective on winning wars. “War’s never a winning thing Charlie. You just lose all the time.[…] All I remember is a lot of losing and sadness and nothing good but the end of it” (85). This statement shows what fighting wars was really like. Colonel wisely observes that war’s never a winning thing but, in fact, a constant losing thing. The colonel is a significant character in Dandelion Wine because he captures the theme of the passage of time, a concept with which the boys struggle.

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