Something Wicked This Way Comes | Study Guide

Ray Bradbury

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Something Wicked This Way Comes | Part 3, Chapters 51–52 : Departures | Summary



Part 3, Chapter 51

Will Halloway and Charles Halloway head toward the carousel as they see blue sparks and hear its music, first played backward, then forward. They notice that the freaks are watching them but not trying to stop them. Mr. Halloway believes the freaks are frightened after what happened to the Dust Witch. Soon father and son see the carnival freaks taking Mr. Electrico/Mr. Cooger to the carousel. But halfway to the carousel, Mr. Cooger disintegrates into dust. Will and his dad see Jim Nightshade standing next to the carousel. He grabs a metal pole and jumps on. Will tries to stop him, but Jim goes around twice before Will can get him off. Jim falls to the ground in a kind of faint. Mr. Halloway turns off the carousel switch, and both Halloways bend over Jim to see if he is alive.

Part 3, Chapter 52

Mr. Dark, who has transformed himself into a boy of nine, tries to lure Charles Halloway away by asking for help. But Mr. Halloway is not deceived. He grabs Mr. Dark's wrist. Holding the "boy" close in what appears to be an embrace, Mr. Halloway thinks, "Evil has only the power that we give it. I give you nothing. I take back. Starve." Mr. Dark falls to the ground.


More blows are struck against the carnival in these two chapters. One is the rescue of Jim from the carousel. This climactic moment has been a long time coming—Jim's been drawn by the carousel nearly the entire story, and there is no surprise at this final attempt by the carnival to ensnare him. Yet once again, his friend is there to save him. The strength of their friendship is enough to tear Jim off the ride, though perhaps not enough to save him from death. Something else will be needed for that.

The deaths of Mr. Cooger and Mr. Dark are the final blow. Mr. Cooger's death is a reminder that dust is a powerful symbol of death and mortality. Throughout the novel, the winds have blown the October dust through the air, and the Dust Witch nearly killed Mr. Halloway. Now Mr. Cooger also goes back to the dust, the particles of his body blowing away in the wind. The death of Mr. Dark presents some final thoughts on the nature of evil, as Mr. Halloway asserts that evil only has power if people give it power.

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