Something Wicked This Way Comes | Study Guide

Ray Bradbury

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Something Wicked This Way Comes | Part 1, Chapters 7–8 : Arrivals | Summary



Part 1, Chapter 7

As he heads home, Will Halloway feels someone come up behind him. It is Jim Nightshade, who was disappointed to find the "Theater" house empty. They find a paper being blown along by the wind—a handbill for Cooger & Dark's carnival, to begin the next day, October 24. Jim is excited. As they discuss the advertised carnival attractions and the strangeness of a carnival at this time of year, they walk home. As they go inside their own houses, Will is glad Jim has the lightning rod on his house as protection against the coming storm.

Part 1, Chapter 8

Inside his home, Will Halloway sees the familiar sight of his mother and father sitting by the fire and wonders why his mother is so happy while his father is so sad. His father is holding a Cooger & Dark's handbill, which he quickly shoves out of sight when his son enters the room. But Will has already seen the paper. Will goes up to his room. He overhears his dad lamenting how old he is, and how this makes him feel disconnected from his son: "I was forty when he was born!" As Will drifts off to sleep, he hears his father leave the house.


Chapters 7 and 8 both involve the handbill for Cooger & Dark's carnival. The different reactions to it are important. Jim is excited and raves about the various things they can see. Will is skeptical—"Silly darn-sounding thing"—but secretly acknowledges he wants to go to the carnival. Charles Halloway is worried enough about the carnival he doesn't want his son to see the handbill; perhaps he is ashamed of the feelings it has stirred in him.

Will's mother and father are presented as good people in a comforting, homey setting. After the uncertainty of the carnival and the "Theater" house, Will is glad to be back in the familiar. Will feels his dad's voice is "the sound truth makes being said." His mother sings in the Baptist church choir. To Will, they are safe and small people in contrast with the wild, big world out there. This sets Will's family up to be the good that must eventually stand against the "something wicked" coming their way.

The carnival, his father's sadness, and the "Theater" house frighten Will, but not because they are evil. There are different kinds of fear that boys may face: fear of evil and fear of the unknown. Will's sense that there are secrets and things he doesn't understand is what overwhelms him here.

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