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STUDY GUIDE-SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES
The comparison the text makes between Jim and a kite allows readers
to see how chaotic Jim is as a character. Jim cannot be led; he must make
his own path. Will seems to realize and envy that quality in Jim. When
the boys realize no one is playing the calliope, the supernatural tone
for the carnival is sent. It is further emphasized when the main tent
is constructed. Throughout the last few hundred years of literature, the
steam whistle has often been perceived as lonely. This is, perhaps, why
Will wakes up in tears when he hears it. Loneliness often causes sadness.
This steam whistle, though, is quite different. All the woe of the world
seems to be tied in it, foreshadowing the fact that the carnival itself
is filled with the world’s woes. The fear of the entire incident overwhelms
the boys and drives them home to relative safety.
Charles watches from a library window as the boys run toward home. Internally,
he yells after them, hoping to catch them, but he feels he cannot actually
call out to them. As they run toward home, he glances across the town.
He, too, heard the train whistle and the calliope. He considers why the
train arrived at three in the morning. He regards the blowing canvas in
the meadow, the carousel, and the mysteries of the mirror maze. He wonders
if the mirror maze could age a man. He suddenly finds himself surrounded
by signs of fear: cold, rough skin, and a bitter taste in his mouth. He,
however, is glued to the window, watching the carnival in the meadow.
He feels torn. Charles wants leave and stay at the same time. He leaves
the library and heads home. As he walks toward home, he passes an empty
store window. A pool of water with a few shards of ice lies behind the
window. Halloway leaves. Behind him, in the meadow, the mirror maze waits
for a victim.
Charles’ inability to yell out to the boys highlights his sense of failure, which he attributes to his age. He feels completely unable to connect to either of the boys. He is unable to communicate with them, a fact that will become increasingly important as the story progresses. He, too, has seen the arrival of the carnival and that speaks to the idea that he longs for something better, something younger. He heads home instead of stopping to stare at the strands of hair in the pool of water where the block of ice had been. That speaks to the idea that although he longs for something different, he is attempting to deal with what he has. The final description of the mirror maze at the end of the chapter continues the sense of foreboding that seems to be growing in intensity as the novel continues. His speculation about the mirror maze foreshadows the supernatural truth many others will discover when the carnival opens later that morning.
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Matter, Mindy. "TheBestNotes on Something Wicked This Way Comes".
. 09 May 2017