Something Wicked This Way Comes

The Perils of Adulthood in "Something Wicked This Way Comes"

"And that was the October Week when they grew up overnight, and were never so young anymore..."

So begins Ray Bradbury's dark carnival fantasy, Something Wicked This Way Comes. Age and the loss of innocence are strong themes in this story: the boys are barreling forward into adulthood while the adults are looking back, yearning for their lost childhood. By comparing and contrasting the circumstances and desires of children and adults, Ray Bradbury creates an in-depth exploration of childhood and the aging process that positions his work as far more than a typical coming-of-age story.

Something Wicked This Way Comes and Dandelion Wine, two of Ray Bradbury's most acclaimed novels, are both set in the small, picturesque hamlet of Green Town, Illinois. This town is in many ways similar to Bradbury's own hometown of Waukegan, Illinois (Johnson 89). These stories thus belong to a rarely-seen genre, that of the autobiographical fantasy (Mogen 112). The events from Bradbury's childhood in Waukegan and his experiences as an adult are such clear influences in these writings that "it almost seems as if he has forgotten nothing: no incident from his past escapes his artistic vision and revision"...

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