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BOOK NOTES SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES
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.
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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