Something Wicked This Way Comes | Study Guide

Ray Bradbury

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Something Wicked This Way Comes | Part 1, Chapters 15–16 : Arrivals | Summary



Part 1, Chapter 15

In the morning, the weather is clear and lovely. Jim Nightshade and Will Halloway quickly eat breakfast and go to the meadow. The carnival is crowded, and the boys run into Miss Foley, their seventh-grade schoolteacher, who is looking for her nephew Robert. She decides to go into the maze. Suddenly Jim feels cold air blowing and his hair stands on end. Looking into the Mirror Maze, they see Miss Foley—many Miss Foleys—walking blindly, whimpering, calling for help. Aided by Jim, Will reaches in and draws her out. Miss Foley tells them there was a young girl in the maze, trapped in there as if under water. She says the girl looked just like herself, younger. As she wanders away, the boys decide to wait until dark to figure out what is going on.

Part 1, Chapter 16

After the boys spend a full day at the carnival, sunset arrives. But suddenly Jim Nightshade is nowhere to be found. Will Halloway, acting on intuition, goes to find him at the Mirror Maze. He drags Jim out of the maze and away. They plan to come back that night, though Will is reluctant. As they turn to go home, they trip over a leather bag.


The imagery used to describe the Mirror Maze is that of winter and deep water. It is "like winter standing tall, waiting to kill you with a glance," and the air that comes out of it is cold "as from an ice house between the tall reflections." Going into the maze is to see "silently rushing mirrors coming in from the desolate seas," and Jim feels as if it is a bottomless sea in which a person could drown. When Miss Foley goes in, pulling her out is like rescuing a person from drowning in cold water.

In contrast, Jim sees something in the maze that makes him "feverish," and his breath is described as warm. He is warmed by something he saw in the Mirror Maze. Although he won't tell Will what he saw in the maze, it has ignited something in him. This recalls the "warm blood" that his mother said was the "story of all our sorrows."

The title of the novel is echoed in Jim's reaction to being near the Mirror Maze. He is surprised that he feels his hair stand up on end, just like in a scary story. He has a sense that something dangerous or frightening—wicked—is near. In this scene, "the pricking of my thumbs" is translated into the children's scary story cliché of hair standing on end.

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