Something Wicked This Way Comes | Study Guide

Ray Bradbury

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Something Wicked This Way Comes | Part 3, Chapters 49–50 : Departures | Summary



Part 3, Chapter 49

In the dark, Will Halloway fumbles in his pockets and finds matches. He strikes one, but his dad becomes overwhelmed by his own aged faces and snuffs it out. Will lights another, yelling "Oh, Dad, Dad, I don't care how old you are, ever!" This pulls Charles Halloway out of the maze's stupor, and he laughs aloud.

Part 3, Chapter 50

Everyone in the carnival freezes at the sound of the Mirror Maze mirrors shattering, an event triggered by Charles Halloway's laugh. This laugh was the result of accepting everything: carnival, people, himself, and his own life. As the moon rises and sheds its light on them, Mr. Halloway and Will Halloway exit the maze.


Mr. Halloway's new resolve and fearlessness are sorely tested as he sees himself, aged, in the Mirror Maze. Fortunately, he has his son with him, who accepts and loves him unconditionally. The novel continues to give examples of crises in which one person would be doomed if he were alone, but is saved because of the presence of another. Wickedness seeks to isolate and separate people; goodness builds relationships and love between them. This dynamic plays out beautifully here.

The theme of dissatisfaction and acceptance finds its clearest expression here, and Mr. Halloway's acceptance of his whole life, situation, and mortality actually shatters the Mirror Maze. The first blow against the carnival was the death of the Dust Witch. The second blow is the shattering of the Mirror Maze.

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