Summary and Analysis: Medicine for Melancholy The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit


Here we have another of the stories in which Bradbury's smile imagery is the focal point; "The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit" describes a transformation that occurs in the life of the main character, Martinez. He and his Mexican-American cohorts lack money, excitement, and, most of all, female companionship. They watch a handsome young Mexican wearing a fine linen suit stroll by with two beautiful women, and they yearn to take his place.

Gomez, a friend of Martinez, decides that they will have a better chance of meeting some beautiful young women if they are dressed more attractively. In fact, he has already chosen the outfit even though it is far too expensive for any one of the men to purchase. Money, however, is not a hindrance for long. Martinez's friends pool their money, each buying part interest in an extraordinary "ice cream" suit.

When Martinez and his friends go to the tailor's shop to purchase their suit, their excitement is so high that the most noticeable characteristic about them is their smiles, "sticking way out in front of their skeletons." Everyone meets with success when wearing the suit, but the greatest change takes place in Martinez himself.

The night that he wears the wonderful suit, Martinez gains his heart's desire — a young lady who enjoys his company. Strangely enough, though, he discovers that the beautiful white suit is not the item which attracts her to him. Instead, it is his smile. When she first sees him, "a great whiteness passes below her window in the dark. So white!" This smile of Martinez is the happiest smile she has ever seen. She tells Martinez that what he wears is not important to her. She has fallen in love with a smile and the man who wears such a smile.

The smile imagery in this story again demonstrates Bradbury's high optimism concerning humanity. Even a simple smile has a greater impact than the so-called powers of materialism.