Summary and Analysis: Medicine for Melancholy The Headpiece


Andrew Lemon places a new headpiece on his head and shouts with delight as he sees a full head of hair covering the coin-round hole which mars his forehead. Mirror imagery clearly depicts the extent to which Andrew carries his fantasy: He gazes in the mirror and sees an absolute stranger. He wishes the stranger in the mirror a Happy New Year, for the mirror has suggested that he is a new man now. He is clearly enjoying his world of fantasy.

Andrew is in love with Miss Fremwell, the lady in the next apartment. He visits her only after dark because he does not want her to see the hole in his brow. In preparing for this evening's visit, however, he lacks the courage to wear his new toupee. The world of make-believe is still quite new. Later, on the dark porch, he proposes marriage to her. When she is hesitant, he blames her rejection of him upon the hole in his forehead. He assumes that when the hole is covered, she will accept his proposal. After he has his toupee in place, he is ready to make a second proposal of marriage. When Miss Fremwell opens her apartment door to him, Andrew imagines his reflection in her bureau mirror, and he reinforces the fantasy of thinking of himself as a "new man." Miss Fremwell, however, needs no mirrors to aid her in fantasy. She faces reality. She does not love Andrew Lemon so she responds, "Andrew, I can still see the hole."

Mirror imagery is emphasized here, allowing Andrew to envision himself in all the splendor in which he wants others to see him. His abode in a world of darkness and fantasy may give him escape from the reality of his appearance, but it will never satisfy the inner desires of his heart. Inherent in this story is Bradbury's belief that man must learn to accept himself for who he is. Accepting one's weaknesses makes an individual strong and happy.