Something Wicked This Way Comes

Something Wicked This Way Comes Essay Questions

  1. 1

    Something Wicked This Way Comes has often been called a companion piece to another Bradbury novel, Dandelion Wine. How do the two stories differ in tone and themes? How are they alike?

  2. 2

    Throughout the novel, Charles is preoccupied with his advancing age. Discuss Charles's thoughts on age and death. How and why do they change as the novel progresses?

  3. 3

    In the beginning of the novel, Will is portrayed as more innocent, cautious, and subdued than his friend Jim. How does Will's personality change as he encounters and faces up to the evils of the carnival?

  4. 4

    As the novel runs its course, many of the characters begin to accept what they see as the limitations of their respective ages. What brings about this acceptance in each of the characters? Do these acceptances differ based on the ages of the characters?

  5. 5

    The carnival is most certainly responsible for its fair share of bad deeds, but can it be properly defined as "evil"? How about the freaks? Mr. Dark?

  6. 6

    In the prologue, the narrator says that over the course of this October week, the boys "grow up overnight." Explain how both boys grow up, not just physically, but emotionally.

  7. 7

    While Jim, Will, and Charles, are the novel's three protagonists, Mrs. Halloway and Mrs. Nightshade play fairly limited roles, to the point that we don't even know their first names. Nevertheless, each woman does have one significant scene: Jim's discussion with his mother at bedtime, and Mrs. Halloway's seemingly psychic connection with her son as he is being kidnapped by Mr. Dark. Explain the significance of these scenes and the differences between motherly and fatherly relations in the novel.

  8. 8

    "Everything in its own time," Will tells Jim as they are arguing about the carousel. Discuss the significance of this quote as it relates to the novel's major themes.

  9. 9

    In the novel's first chapter, Tom Fury senses a storm coming and gives the boys a lightning rod, free of charge, telling them that lightning will strike Jim's house later that night. Yet a literal storm never arrives, and lightning never strikes Jim's house. Explain the significance of this foreshadowing, and explain the significance of Jim's removing the lightning rod from his house. Did it have any consequences?

  10. 10

    The town of Green Town, in which the story takes place, is reminiscent of Waukegan, IL, in which Bradbury grew up. Research Bradbury's childhood and discuss how Something Wicked This Way Comes is in part an autobiographical tale.