Notes: Something Wicked This Way Comes

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Title: Something Wicked This Way Comes
Author: Ray Bradbury
Published: 1962
Main characters:
1. William Halloway – One of the main protagonists of the novel. Will is thirteen years old and has white-blonde hair and eyes “as clear as summer rain.” Although very obedient, Will is also sweet, sensitive, and does not want to grow up because he thoroughly enjoys being young. He always finds the right thing to do, even in the most trivial of situations. Will has an active role in fighting against the carnival’s evil powers. 2. James “Jim” Nightshade – Best friend of Will Halloway. A rash boy, who acts a foil to Will’s character, in that he thinks less and acts quickly in his actions. He has wild, tangled chestnut brown hair and grass-colored eyes. Jim yearns to become older, making him vulnerable to the carnival’s many temptations, but is ultimately saved by Will’s friendship. 3. Charles Halloway – Father of William. He is the dynamic character of the novel, as in the beginning he is kind, yet does not care to relate to his son for fear that age shall always get in the way. However, after gaining courage from fighting off the carnival’s evils, he gains admiration, love and friendship from his son. 4. Mr. Dark – Major protagonist. A sinister man who bears tattoos all over his body, one for each person successfully tempted into joining the carnival. Mr. Dark initially holds sway over the other main characters, but his power weakens when Charles uses positive emotions against him, something he cannot comprehend or withstand. Dark's background is a mystery, although he refers to being raised in a strict religious upbringing.

Minor Characters:

1. J. C. Cooger - Dark's partner in running the carnival, Mr. Cooger is a fierce, red-headed man who is first seen repairing the carousel. He catches and terrifies Will and Jim until Mr. Dark intervenes. Like Mr. Dark, his origins are unknown. 2. The Dust Witch - A blind soothsayer with a sixth sense and the ability to perform many feats of magic, the Witch is portrayed as one of the carnival's most dangerous members. However, her increased sensitivity to the presence and emotions of other people makes her vulnerable to positive feelings. 3. Miss Foley - A fifty-year-old schoolteacher of Will and Jim. Much like the other victims of the carnival, Miss Foley wished to become young and beautiful again. However, when she got her wish, she became frightened because she went blind. 4. The Skeleton - An extremely thin, skeleton-like creature who is one of the more frequently appearing freaks. Like all of the other freaks, he once desired to be younger and was eventually tricked into joining the carnival. The Skeleton appears to be one of the more loyal freaks as, near the book's end, he takes the time to carry the recently deceased and youth Mr. Dark with him after all the other freaks ran away. 5. Tom Fury/Dwarf - A lightning rod salesman who is turned into an insane dwarf by the carnival and is recruited into it, with no memories of his former life.

Main Setting: The novel is set in Green Town, Illinois during October 23 - October 25. The year is not listed, but it seems probable that it takes place in the 1950's era. Several things might lead a reader to conclude this fact, including the simple freedoms the boys enjoy, the respect the boys offer to adults, and the small town atmosphere that, for the most part, represents an atmosphere that is not largely present in American society today. The fact that text is set in the fall season allows readers to feel the enhanced suspenseful mood Bradbury pens into the entire story with Halloween being involved in the storyline. The characters birth dates are significant in that they are before or after Halloween. 

Plot Outline:
Two boys named Will and James encounter a strange lightning rod salesman, while they’re just on the verge of their fourteenth birthdays, who says a storm is coming...
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