Something Wicked This Way Comes | Study Guide

Ray Bradbury

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Something Wicked This Way Comes | Part 3, Chapters 45–46 : Departures | Summary



Part 3, Chapter 45

Mr. Dark marches Will Halloway and Jim Nightshade toward the carnival as the assorted carnival folk follow along. Mechanically and obediently, the boys greet Mr. Tetley as they pass the cigar shop. Mr. Dark offers to let Jim ride the carousel and possibly take over for Mr. Cooger. He threatens to put Will on the ride until he is a baby for the Dwarf to play with. Next they pass Mr. Kolb, a policeman. Again, Mr. Dark forces the boys to greet the man and move on toward the meadow.

Part 3, Chapter 46

The little "parade" continues toward the carnival meadow, with the Dust Witch following behind, wounded, and Charles Halloway, also wounded, following the Dust Witch. Mr. Dark forces the boys into the Mirror Maze, to the end where lies a waxworks, and positions them among the wax figures. Then, Mr. Dark exits the maze and announces the final event of the evening to the carnival-goers: the bullet trick. The bullet catcher is to be the Dust Witch, who protests and tries to stop the act. Mr. Dark silences her by pinching his tattoo of her and then calls for a volunteer. The man who volunteers to fire the bullet is none other than Charles Halloway.


In a nightmarish echo of the previous "parade" of the carnival folk, the small parade of Mr. Dark, the boys, and a few carnival freaks now includes two new captives. This is a moment of triumph for Mr. Dark. He believes Mr. Halloway to be dead, trusting the Dust Witch to do her job well, and the dramatic irony created by the reader's knowledge of Halloway's narrow escape increases the suspense. The boys' situation seems dire. They have become part of the carnival, their movements and speech taking on elements of mechanical devices, just like the other carnival freaks. At the carnival, they are made to become part of a wax museum at the end of the Mirror Maze.

It doesn't take long for the suspense to break as Mr. Halloway heroically steps forward to take a shot at the Dust Witch—a bit of poetic justice for her that is quite satisfying to readers.

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