October As A Theme in Literature

“First of all, it was October, a rare month for boys.”
― Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes

“The dust was antique spice, burnt maple leaves, a prickling blue that teemed and sifted to earth. Swarming its own shadows, the dust filtered over the tents.”
― Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes

Ray Bradbury must have loved October. He often referred to it in his writing.

The October Country: Stories by Ray Bradbury, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

“He had never liked October. Ever since he had first lay in the autumn leaves before his grandmother’s house many years ago and heard the wind and saw the empty trees. It had made him cry, without a reason. And a little of that sadness returned each year to him. It always went away with spring.

But, it was a little different tonight. There was a feeling of autumn coming to last a million years.

There would be no spring. (“The October Game”)”
― Ray Bradbury, Long After Midnight

“I was only twelve. But I knew how much I loved her. It was that love that comes before all significance of body and morals. It was that love that was no more bad than wind and sea and sand lying side by side forever. It was made of all the warm long days together at the beach, and the humming quiet days of droning education at the school. All the long Autumn days of the years past when I carried her books home from school.”
― Ray Bradbury, The October Country

“Nobody moved.

Everybody sat in the dark cellar, suspended in the suddenly frozen task of this October game; the wind blew outside, banging the house, the smell of pumpkins and apples filled the room with smell of the objects in their fingers while one boy cried, “I’ll go upstairs and look!” and he ran upstairs hopefully and out around the house, four times around the house, calling, “Marion, Marion, Marion!” over and over and at last coming slowly down the stairs into the waiting breathing cellar and saying to the darkness, “I can’t find her.”

Then… some idiot turned on the lights.
(“The October Game”)”
― Ray Bradbury, Long After Midnight

“The wind outside nested in each tree, prowled the sidewalks in invisible treads like unseen cats.
Tom Skelton shivered. Anyone could see that the wind was a special wind this night, and the darkness took on a special feel because it was All Hallows’ Eve. Everything seemed cut from soft black velvet or gold or orange velvet. Smoke panted up out of a thousand chimneys like the plumes of funeral parades. From kitchen windows drifted two pumpkin smells: gourds being cut, pies being baked.”
― Ray Bradbury, The Halloween Tree

“The ripe, the golden month has come again, and in Virginia the chinkapins are falling. Frost sharps the middle music of the seasons, and all things living on the earth turn home again… the fields are cut, the granaries are full, the bins are loaded to the brim with fatness, and from the cider-press the rich brown oozings of the York Imperials run. The bee bores to the belly of the grape, the fly gets old and fat and blue, he buzzes loud, crawls slow, creeps heavily to death on sill and ceiling, the sun goes down in blood and pollen across the bronzed and mown fields of the old October.”
― Thomas Wolfe, Of Time and the River: A Legend of Man’s Hunger in His Youth

Biography of Eudora Welty, American Short-Story Writer

“When they turned off, it was still early in the pink and green fields. The fumes of morning, sweet and bitter, sprang up where they walked. The insects ticked softly, their strength in reserve; butterflies chopped the air, going to the east, and the birds flew carelessly and sang by fits.

They went down again and soon the smell of the river spread over the woods, cool and secret. Every step they took among the great walls of vines and among the passion-flowers started up a little life, a little flight.

‘We’re walking along in the changing-time,’ said Doc. ‘Any day now the change will come. It’s going to turn from hot to cold, and we can kill the hog that’s ripe and have fresh meat to eat. Come one of these nights and we can wander down here and tree a nice possum. Old Jack Frost will be pinching things up. Old Mr. Winter will be standing in the door. Hickory tree there will be yellow. Sweet-gum red, hickory yellow, dogwood red, sycamore yellow.’ He went along rapping the tree trunks with his knuckle. ‘Magnolia and live-oak never die. Remember that. Persimmons will all get fit to eat, and the nuts will be dropping like rain all through the woods here. And run, little quail, run, for we’ll be after you too.’

They went on and suddenly the woods opened upon light, and they had reached the river. Everyone stopped, but Doc talked on ahead as though nothing had happened. ‘Only today,’ he said, ‘today, in October sun, it’s all gold—sky and tree and water. Everything just before it changes looks to be made of gold.’

(“The Wide Net”)”
― Eudora Welty, The Collected Stories

The Witch of Blackbird Pond - Wikipedia

“After the keen still days of September, the October sun filled the world with mellow warmth…The maple tree in front of the doorstep burned like a gigantic red torch. The oaks along the roadway glowed yellow and bronze. The fields stretched like a carpet of jewels, emerald and topaz and garnet. Everywhere she walked the color shouted and sang around her…In October any wonderful unexpected thing might be possible.”
― Elizabeth George Speare, The Witch of Blackbird Pond

Peace Like a River by Leif Enger

I remember it as October days are always remembered, cloudless, maple-flavored, the air gold and so clean it quivers.”
― Leif Enger, Peace Like a River

“October knew, of course, that the action of turning a page, of ending a chapter or shutting a book, did not end the tale.
Having admitted that, he would also avow that happy endings were never difficult to find: “It is simply a matter,” he explained to April, “of finding a sunny place in a garden, where the light is golden and the grass is soft; somewhere to rest, to stop reading, and to be content.”
― Neil Gaiman, Season of Mists [Sandman, Voiume 4]

The Art Lover by Carole Maso

“What the light looks like in the pear trees, in October, is a hundred teardrops of gold, the whole orchard weeping.”
― Carole Maso, The Art Lover

The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter

“October, crisp, misty, golden October, when the light is sweet and heavy.”
― Angela Carter, The Magic Toyshop

Twenty Years Later, a Rerelease for Jacqueline Woodson's 'If You Come Softly '

“He loved October. Had always loved it. There was something sad and beautiful about it – the ending and beginning of things.”
― Jacqueline Woodson, If You Come Softly

“The crickets still sing in October. And lilly, she’s trying to bloom. Tho she’s resting her head on the shoulder of death, she still shines by the light of the moon.”
― Kevin Dalton – Faubush Hill

The Complete Anne of Green Gables (Boxed Set) by L. M. Montgomery, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

“Anne reveled in the world of color about her.

“Oh, Marilla,” she exclaimed one Saturday morning, coming dancing in with her arms full of gorgeous boughs, “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. It would be terrible if we just skipped from September to November, wouldn’t it? Look at these maple branches. Don’t they give you a thrill–several thrills?”
― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

 

“And I rose
In a rainy autumn
And walked abroad in shower of all my days
High tide and the heron dived when I took the road
Over the border
And the gates
Of the town closed as the town awoke.”
― Dylan Thomas, Collected Poems

“He found himself wondering at times, especially in the autumn, about the wild lands, and strange visions of mountains that he had never seen came into his dreams.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

“That country where it is always turning late in the year. That country where the hills are fog and the rivers are mist; where noons go quickly, dusks and twilights linger, and midnights stay. That country composed in the main of cellars, sub-cellars, coal-bins, closets, attics, and pantries faced away from the sun. That country whose people are autumn people, thinking only autumn thoughts. Whose people passing at night on the empty walks sound like rain.”
― Ray Bradbury

“The autumn leaves blew over the moonlit pavement in such a way as to make the girl who was moving there seem fixed to a sliding walk, letting the motion of the wind and the leaves carry her forward. […] The trees overhead made a great sound of letting down their dry rain.”
― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

 

“Nobody moved.

Everybody sat in the dark cellar, suspended in the suddenly frozen task of this October game; the wind blew outside, banging the house, the smell of pumpkins and apples filled the room with smell of the objects in their fingers while one boy cried, “I’ll go upstairs and look!” and he ran upstairs hopefully and out around the house, four times around the house, calling, “Marion, Marion, Marion!” over and over and at last coming slowly down the stairs into the waiting breathing cellar and saying to the darkness, “I can’t find her.”

Then… some idiot turned on the lights.
(“The October Game”)”
― Ray Bradbury, Long After Midnight

“Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year. The morning of the first September was crisp and golden as an apple.”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

“And now, my poor old woman, why are you crying so bitterly? It is autumn. The leaves are falling from the trees like burning tears- the wind howls. Why must you mimic them?”
― Mervyn Peake, Titus Groan

“You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintery light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen. When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person died for no reason.”
― Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

“To-day I think
Only with scents, – scents dead leaves yield,
And bracken, and wild carrot’s seed,
And the square mustard field;

Odours that rise
When the spade wounds the root of tree,
Rose, currant, raspberry, or goutweed,
Rhubarb or celery;

The smoke’s smell, too,
Flowing from where a bonfire burns
The dead, the waste, the dangerous,
And all to sweetness turns.

It is enough
To smell, to crumble the dark earth,
While the robin sings over again
Sad songs of Autumn mirth.”

– A poem called DIGGING.”
― Edward Thomas, Collected Poems

“But when fall comes, kicking summer out on its treacherous ass as it always does one day sometime after the midpoint of September, it stays awhile like an old friend that you have missed. It settles in the way an old friend will settle into your favorite chair and take out his pipe and light it and then fill the afternoon with stories of places he has been and things he has done since last he saw you.”
― Stephen King, ‘Salem’s Lot

“A moral character is attached to autumnal scenes; the leaves falling like our years, the flowers fading like our hours, the clouds fleeting like our illusions, the light diminishing like our intelligence, the sun growing colder like our affections, the rivers becoming frozen like our lives–all bear secret relations to our destinies.”
― François-René de Chateaubriand, Mémoires d’Outre-Tombe

“I love the autumn—that melancholy season that suits memories so well. When the trees have lost their leaves, when the sky at sunset still preserves the russet hue that fills with gold the withered grass, it is sweet to watch the final fading of the fires that until recently burnt within you.”
― Gustave Flaubert, Memoirs of a Madman and November

“…as the slow sea sucked at the shore and then withdrew, leaving the strip of seaweed bare and the shingle churned, the sea birds raced and ran upon the beaches. Then that same impulse to flight seized upon them too. Crying, whistling, calling, they skimmed the placid sea and left the shore. Make haste, make speed, hurry and begone; yet where, and to what purpose? The restless urge of autumn, unsatisfying, sad, had put a spell upon them and they must flock, and wheel, and cry; they must spill themselves of motion before winter came.”
― Daphne du Maurier, The Birds and Other Stories

“I ate breakfast in the kitchen by candle-light, and then drove the five miles to the station through the most glorious October colouring. The sun came up on the way, and the swamp maples and dogwood glowed crimson and orange and the stone walls and cornfields sparkled with hoar frost; the air was keen and clear and full of promise. I knew something was going to happen. ”
― Jean Webster, Daddy-Long-Legs

“I saw old Autumn in the misty morn
Stand shadowless like silence, listening
To silence, for no lonely bird would sing
Into his hollow ear from woods forlorn,
Nor lowly hedge nor solitary thorn; —
Shaking his languid locks all dewy bright
With tangled gossamer that fell by night,
Pearling his coronet of golden corn.”
― Thomas Hood

“Aprils have never meant much to me, autumns seem that season of beginning, spring.”
― Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Three Stories

“And I rose
In rainy autumn
And walked abroad in a shower of all my days…”
― Dylan Thomas, Collected Poems

“Is not this a true autumn day? Just the still melancholy that I love – that makes life and nature harmonise. The birds are consulting about their migrations, the trees are putting on the hectic or the pallid hues of decay, and begin to strew the ground, that one’s very footsteps may not disturb the repose of earth and air, while they give us a scent that is a perfect anodyne to the restless spirit. Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”

[Letter to Miss Lewis, Oct. 1, 1841]”
― George Eliot, George Eliot’s Life, as Related in Her Letters and Journals

“Her pleasure in the walk must arise from the exercise and the day, from the view of the last smiles of the year upon the tawny leaves and withered hedges, and from repeating to herself some few of the thousand poetical descriptions extant of autumn–that season of peculiar and inexhaustible influence on the mind of taste and tenderness–that season which has drawn from every poet worthy of being read some attempt at description, or some lines of feeling.”
― Jane Austen, Persuasion

“The tints of autumn…a mighty flower garden blossoming under the spell of the enchanter, frost.”
― John Greenleaf Whittier