Something Wicked This Way Comes | Study Guide

Ray Bradbury

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Something Wicked This Way Comes | Prologue | Summary



The Prologue introduces the time of year in which the story takes place: October. It suggests that October is a time when boys might think about doing some pranks and mischief, or plan their Halloween costumes. It states: during "one strange wild dark long year" three hours after midnight on October 24, Halloween came early. During that week two boys nearing 14 years old—Jim Nightshade and Will Halloway—"grew up overnight, and were never so young any more...."


The Prologue introduces two of the main characters of the novel, Jim Nightshade and Will Halloway—two boys entering adolescence. It introduces the setting as October, an autumn month, placing the story in a season that will become an important symbol in the novel. In addition, the date is near Halloween, an appropriate time for a scary story. Finally, the type of story readers are to expect is revealed—a coming-of-age story—which also points to an important theme: growing up and growing old.

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