Summary and Analysis: <i>The October Country</i>
Herb Thomson's friend Allin claims that while he was in the Himalayas during the war, he discovered what he calls the Valley of the Winds. There, he found himself in the midst of snow, rain, hail, and wind, all occurring simultaneously. He is convinced that he has angered the winds by discovering their origin, and that now the winds seek revenge upon him. As the story's action begins, Allin is certain that tonight is the time that the winds have chosen to settle their debt with him, for the wind has followed him home and has gradually been increasing in intensity. Hoping for moral support, Allin makes frequent telephone calls to his friend throughout the night, describing the latest activities of the vengeful wind. He tells Herb that the wind has taken the life-power and intellect from millions of people throughout the years, and now it is stalking his. Herb, however, provides no help for Allin because he believes that his friend is only indulging in fantasy. When Allin's frequent calls suddenly cease, Herb puts in a long distance call to him. To his disbelief, he hears the operator say that she is unable to connect his call because all the telephone lines are down as the result of a tremendous wind storm in that area. Later, when Herb hears Allin's voice outside his door, he breathes a sigh of relief. Upon opening the door, however, he is greeted by the wind.
"The Wind" is another of Bradbury's emotionally experienced horror stories which utilizes the everyday things familiar to all of us. Here he personifies the commonplace wind and gives it a sinister quality. He depicts it as a kind of monster who tracks its victims to the ends of the earth and sucks away their lives.
Of note here is Allin, the protagonist in the story, who serves as little more than a symbol. He is a representative of people who sometimes find themselves alone and misunderstood even in the presence of friends. Although Bradbury readily admits that this theme of loneliness was not consciously planted in this story, he nevertheless confesses that, unconsciously, a majority of the stories presented in The October Country, and in many of his later works as well, center around such lonely people as Allin.