Something Wicked This Way Comes | Study Guide

Ray Bradbury

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Something Wicked This Way Comes | Part 2, Chapters 33–34 : Pursuits | Summary



Part 2, Chapter 33

Charles Halloway answers the phone when his son calls. "We got to hide. They're looking for us," Will Halloway tells him, suggesting it will just be for a few days. "Willy, don't!" says his dad. But his son hangs up. Mr. Halloway goes outside into the post-rain sunshine.

Part 2, Chapter 34

The carnival parade travels through town, and as people emerge from Sunday church services they watch it. Under a sidewalk grate in front of the cigar shop, Jim Nightshade and Will Halloway hide. Will sees his dad above, standing on the grate, as the parade nears the store. A small boy drops his gum down the grate and tries to get it back. Then the parade stops, and the carnival folk scatter into the crowd. Jim and Will know the search is on.


Chapter 34 unfolds in a series of fleeting images meant to create the sense of moving moment to moment. Its function in the story is to heighten suspense and drive the plot toward a final encounter: Readers know the boys are hiding but must eventually come out of hiding or be discovered. The suspense begins as the boys hide near the passing carnival, a decision Will believes is so obvious it will seem unlikely. There is a crowd gathering to watch the parade. More people means more danger of being seen. At any moment, anyone may look down. Men, women, and children are seen from below. The boys "suck their breaths like iron Popsicles" as they hide under the grate. The drum beat of the parade also marks time along with the boys' breath, increasing the sense that time is passing excruciatingly slowly for the boys who are waiting for the parade to pass them by. Finally, a little boy drops his gum and tries to recover it, eventually getting his mother's attention and telling her to look down into the grate. This innocent action ends the chapter and leaves the reader anxious to turn the page and find out what will happen next.

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