Something Slowly This Way Comes

I started Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes sometime early in the first semester, got 15 pages in and stopped. It just didn’t grab my attention right off the bat like Fahrenheit 451 did, which interested me since all over the book, people sang the praises of this “incomparable masterwork.” And I, no more than three chapters in, failed to see the brilliance in the piece.


Laundry day rolled around, and not feeling like studying religious text, grabbed Something Wicked This Way Comes off the shelf. I have to admit that there are a few things that drew me to this book in the first place (in no particular order): I loved Fahrenheit 451, the book appears on at least one of my book lists, and the song from one of the Harry Potter movies. Sad, I know.

Needless to say, I’m now about nine chapters in, and still not much has happened. We meet the two main characters, Will Halloway and Jim Nightshade. We know that Will feels sort of estranged and possibly ashamed of his father, who is a janitor at the public library. Will refers to him initially as an “old man” but the tone does not suggest he says this in jest. We find out later that Will was born when his father was 40, and Will’s mother is often mistaken for his father’s daughter. We know that Jim Nightshade lives with only his mother, is one of three children but the only one still alive, and that his father was abusive. He is enthralled by the fanciful – e.g. the “theatre” on an out of the way street whose plays involve people stripping, then touching each other.

My questions so far:

  1. What is going to come of the lightning rod that Will and Jim put on top of Jim’s house?
  2. Why did Will’s dad crumple up the flyer for the carnival, then throw it in the fire?
  3. Echoing Will’s question: Why didn’t Will’s father come completely clean about the carnival to his mother? What does he have to hide?
  4. What was the “ice” in the sawhorses in the empty shop where Charles Halloway stood transfixed?
  5. Will Jim loose the lightning rod, thus charring his house and his mother?

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