Summary and Analysis: The October Country Uncle Einar


Uncle Einar once spent many joyous evenings sailing through the late night skies on his beautiful green wings, but an accidental crash into a high-tension wire grounded him from his night flying. At first, Einar did not mind that his delicate night perception was gone, for as a result of his accident he met Brunilla, and he kept himself busy courting her and planning their marriage. Brunilla and Einar were quite happy together for a while, but such is not the case when the central action of Bradbury's story begins. Now, Uncle Einar realizes that his night perception is lost to him forever. Any flying in the daylight that he might do is a risk of his safety, and flying at night is impossible. This knowledge is deeply depressing to him, and his uselessness to his family causes him to withdraw from their love. His one obsession is centered on "heavens, skies, horizons, infinities," which are now closed to him. His spirits soar again only after his family discovers a safe, daytime flight assignment for him. He fulfills his children's request for a wonderful green kite that dips and soars and makes "a great and magical exclamation mark across a cloud!"

"Uncle Einar " can almost be considered comic relief after one has experienced many of the dark stories of horror and the grotesque contained in The October Country. This story is a fantasy about a man whose green wings make him quite bizarre. Yet Bradbury leaves his readers warmly smiling after having read a "they lived happily ever after" ending.

In spite of its happy ending, however, Bradbury also treats themes of loneliness and isolation. Uncle Einar has always been divided from the normal world because of his wonderful wings. When he suffers the loss of some of his supernatural powers, he becomes despondent and useless except for the degrading task of drying wet laundry. He is indeed a man alone. Only after Uncle Einar's children ask him for a kite does his loneliness disappear. As the children's wonderful green kite, he finds his full potential tapped again. He finds a useful, thrilling, dignified task for himself, and his loneliness vanishes.

Bradbury's style of writing should also be noted here. His images and metaphors provide an added intensity to his writings, allowing his readers more readily a firsthand experience as they read. Uncle Einar's flight over "moon-dreaming country hills" while he watches "a faint bandage of dawn appear" and, later, the description of Einar and his despondency as being like a "sun-parasol, green and discarded" are examples of Bradbury's blending of poetry and prose, a technique that will grow and flourish in his later works.