Summary and Analysis: Medicine for Melancholy The Marriage Mender


After two years of marriage to Antonio, Maria begins to complain about their bed. Their bed is unique, having gargoyles, lions, and goats carved into the headboard, alongside an imitation brass harp. Antonio loves this bed. Nightly he strums the harp strings, playing the tune "Santa Lucia." For him, the bed is a family heirloom, but, more importantly, the bed springs "know" his every move. Maria claims the bed is filled with lumps and humps. Moreover, she blames the bed for their not having had any children thus far. If their marriage is to be saved, Maria must have a new bed, one that is flat and smooth and white.

In a surprise ending, Antonio goes home to tell his wife that he has bought her a new bed and she gives him news that they are soon to have a child. A new bed will no longer be necessary. Now she finds favor with this bed. It serves from this point on as a mender of their marriage problems, and she proves it herself when she, rather than Antonio, plucks the headboard lute, playing "Santa Lucia."

Although carnival imagery is not extensively used in this story, Bradbury's love for the carnival is apparent. His description of the bed as a calliope, and Antonio and the bed as a tumbling act, establish in part the foundation for the many carnival stories that Bradbury was later to write.