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Free Study Guide for Something Wicked This Way Comes

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The boys run toward town in search of the young Mr. Cooger. As they run, they agree that the carousel turned backward 28 times. They can see Cooger's small shape ahead of them as they run. Will tries desperately to explain what they have seen. He suggests that a boy must have been on the carousel. Jim, however, insists that it's not the case. They run past the barbershop with a sign in the window. Both boys forget to notice it closely, though. They notice the boy has turned on Culpepper Street, and the boys turn to follow. Culpepper, though, is deserted. Jim remembers that Culpepper is Miss Foley's street. The boys stroll down the street, and glance in Miss Foley's window. There stands a boy of about twelve. Will suggests it must be her nephew. Jim, though, insists it's Cooger, as he can tell from his eyes. They walk to the corner, and begin to head back. Jim feels obligated to warn Miss Foley. Will, though, knows Jim has a hidden agenda. Will, internally, compares Jim to a forgotten dog he'd had. The dog would simply disappear occasionally. Eventually he'd return torn and broken with an odd smile. His father had named the dog Plato, for there was little he didn't know. The dog would be good again for several months, and then the process would start over again.

Will takes the comparison so far, he can almost see the same physiological signs in Jim: whimpering, flattened ears, and smelling things others can't. They ring the bell, much to Will's astonishment. While they wait, Will observes that Jim is not scared, a fact that surprise them both. Miss Foley opens the door. Will quickly asks if she's okay, then attempts to cover it by suggesting that he's inquiring because of the incident at the carnival earlier in the evening. Will and Jim enter the house, and notice an 'evil' boy lurking in the shadows. Will is unsure as to why he characterized him as evil, but he decides this is the best description. Miss Foley pulls the boy out of the shadows and starts to introduce him. Will, though, quickly suggests he has a terrible thing to tell Miss Foley. He tries to cover his mistake, but the only name that pops out is Mr. Crosetti.

Suddenly, he remembers the sign he saw in the barber shop window. It had said "Closed Due to Illness." Will lies and says Crosetti dead. Miss Foley responds appropriately and introduces him as Robert, her nephew from Wisconsin. Jim says the boy looks familiar. Will has the odd sensation that he wants to hum backward music. He looks at the floor, afraid the young Cooger will look at his eyes and see the events of the evening reflected in them. Miss Foley invites the boys to stay for supper, but Will quickly refuses for the two of the them, on account of the fact that Jim's mom is home alone. 'Robert' suggests that Will and Jim could join them later for desert. They are headed to the carnival. Will is surprised because earlier Miss Foley had decided she'd not go back to the carnival. She assures him that it had been a silly decision, and she and Robert would have lots of fun at the carnival. Robert again invites Will and Jim to join them, but Will reminds Jim that his mother is 'sick.' Jim agrees, only after shooting a poisonous look at Will.

The boys agree to meet tomorrow by the sideshows. As they prepare to leave, Will has the desperate feeling that he must tell Miss Foley not to go with the carnival. He only repeats, however, the lie that Mr. Crosetti is dead. Jim drags Will out. Will seems amazed and concerned by the fact that Jim shook hands with Cooger. Jim implies that had they been able to meet with Cooger tonight, the mystery would be solved. He promptly asks Will if there is a problem. Will suddenly remembers that the music they'd previously heard was Chopin's funeral march played backward. They notice the young Cooger staring at them in the window. They whistle "Oh, Susanna" as they walk away, hoping Cooger won't think them suspicious.


The fact that the boys fail to notice the sign in the window is indicative of the stress they're placing on themselves. The fact that Will is still trying to explain the entire event demonstrates his willingness to distance himself from things he doesn't understand. Willís first instinct, despite the fact that he doesnít understand it, is to characterize Robert as evil. While Will lies about Crosetti, the idea that Crosetti is missing will again be mentioned toward the end of the novel. Crosettiís place in the plot, though, will remain mysterious and unrevealed even at the end of the novel. Will sense danger from Robert. As a result, he tries to encourage Jim to leave, but Jim wants the adventure that Robert seemingly offers. Jim shows no understanding of Willís reluctance with regard to the carnival. Will tries, on two occasions, to warn Foley of danger. He, though, like Charles, demonstrates an inability to communicate important messages. The idea that the calliope music was the funeral march played backward is symbolic of the carouselís power. Jim does, in many ways, reflect the dog Will compares him to. Jim needs freedom despite the fact it is often dangerous. Jim can only handle so much civility.


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Matter, Mindy. "TheBestNotes on Something Wicked This Way Comes". . 09 May 2017