Summary and Analysis: The October Country Homecoming

“Homecoming” is another of the stories which centers around the outsider, the one who is different from the norm. Here, Timothy is an outsider in his family. He has none of the abilities of his brothers and sisters, and he lacks their approval. This rejection and dejection of Timothy sets an ideal situation for one of Bradbury’s philosophical statements about the power of love. Timothy’s mother encourages her mortal son by trying to convince him that he is loved in spite of his differences. She assures him that her love will continue, even beyond the limits of Timothy’s own mortality. In the same vein, Bradbury uses Uncle Einar to point out that man, in realizing his mortality, should appreciate life’s richness all the more.

Although a predominately serious story, “Homecoming” is not devoid of humor. Timothy’s vampire brothers, who operate the local funeral parlor and bring home “sustenance” for the family, and the “one-thousand-odd-greats Grandmama,” who is wrapped in Egyptian cerements and must be propped against the wall like a burned ironing board, were surely inserted by Bradbury to make us smile.

The setting of the story is one of Bradbury’s favorites considering the great excitement that Halloween always generated at young Bradbury’s home. His Aunt Neva hosted this holiday each year, and it was always more special than even Christmas. The fetching of toadstools and spiders, the hanging of black crepe, and the filling of the numerous punch bowls in “Homecoming” all have a parallel in the glorious Halloweens of Bradbury’s youth. His use of the real names of many of his relatives in this story is sufficient evidence of his having written a fantasy steeped in reality.