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Free Study Guide for Something Wicked This Way Comes

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FREE BOOKNOTES SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES

CHAPTER 50

Summary

Jim has taken off through the rear exit door. Everything falls silent, though, as the sound of the shattering mirror maze is heard. Charles is able to laugh and shatter the mirrors because he has finally accepted himself for who he is. There is just enough dim light left in the mirror maze to realize that Jim is gone. Will despairs, thinking finding Jim is not possible, but Charles reassures him. They both hear the carousel, and Will knows that despite everything they’ve been through, Jim would still ride the carousel. They step out of the maze as the moon rises from the hills. Charles says they only have to worry about three people: Jim, Cooger, and Dark. If they can find Jim, deal with Cooger and Dark, the freaks will disappear.

Notes

Bradbury reveals that the only way to truly stop regretting who you are is to accept yourself. Charles is finally able to smash the idea that he’s too old by smashing the mirror maze, a noise that frightens Dark. Will starts to despair, but Charles knows he must reassure him, as Dark will feed off of their terrible emotions. The fact that a full moon rises, offering Charles and Will light, furthers the theme that light will triumph over dark, physically and metaphorically. Charles knows their first priorities have to be Jim, Cooger, and Dark, because the freaks are little more than pawns in the entire game.


CHAPTER 51

Summary

Charles and Jim run both in darkness and in the light of the moon to reach the carousel. They see sparks light up the sky, and Will knows they’re trying to move Cooger. As Charles and Will dart toward the electric chair, they notice the freaks starting at them. Will wonders why they don’t attack, and Charles compares them to walking wounded. They’re scared, as they’ve seen what happened to the Dust Witch. The calliope music changes, and Will is instantly afraid for Jim. They then notice a grotesque parade in front of them, moving Cooger toward the carousel. The parade, though vanishes and seconds later, they hear an awkward human sound. Will is afraid they’ve captured Jim. Charles is afraid he and Will are about to be captured. Dust blows in their faces, and Charles and Will quickly see the empty electric chair. Charles deduces the dust in their faces must have been Cooger. He tries to imagine the number of times they’d attempted the very same transport within the last few days. Will realizes that something must have made them drop him, then they see Jim standing at the carousel. Will goes to pull him away, but Jim is already on board. Will calls out to him, and Jim finally awakens on his turning carousel, frustrated. Will tells Charles to shut it off, and Will makes his final lunge for Jim on the turning ride. Will, though, gets stuck and both boys are on the ride. Finally Will manages to pull him off, and they fall to the ground, hard. Charles shuts off the carousel, and together, Will and Charles kneel by Jim’s motionless body.

Notes

The freaks refuse to stop Charles and Will because though they’re loyal to the carnival, they’re also still protecting themselves. The attempted move of Cooger turns sour, and it is obvious to Will that Jim will try to ride the carousel. When he glances at the carousel, Jim almost appears as a freak, which seems to foreshadow Jim’s inevitable ride. The text mentions that Jim was meant to ride the carousel, and to this point, Jim has considered little else. In the face of all that has happened, Jim has not changed who he is. Will’s goodness forces him to fight for Jim, but he only gets pulled in with him. Jim realizes at some point that what he’s doing is wrong, but he cannot stop. Finally, though, Will is able to help Jim break free, but at the possible cost of Jim’s life. Bradbury appears to be saying that some events are inevitable. Stopping those events often has terrible consequences.


CHAPTER 52

Summary

Charles and Will try to ascertain Jim’s condition, and a little boy comes running up, calling for help, saying that Mr. Dark is after him. Charles says Will should administer artificial respiration, while he tries to help the young boy. He asks his name, and the boy says his name is Jed, but they must hurry, as they are out of time. Charles suddenly realizes something is strange. Charles grabs the boy, and his shirt sleeve tears, revealing extensive tattoos. Charles picks him up, and holds him tightly, and the boy screams murder. Charles explains that he’s not going to murder him, he’s simply going to hold him closer than he can stand. The boy writhes, suggesting Charles is evil, and Charles says good to the evil must seem like evil. Charles holds him close, embracing him as a father might a son, and the boy falls to the ground, dead.

Notes

Dark’s trick is clearly aimed at separating Charles and Will. Charles, however, discovers the trick in time, and makes a brief speech that often deceit fails. Dark realizes that his plan has failed, and his small size will not allow him to fight Charles. Charles, again displaying the importance of love, kills Dark through a simple hug.


CHAPTER 53


Summary

Charles stands for sometime looking at Dark’s child body. Will pauses his desperate artificial respiration into Jim’s body to sense the freaks breathing around him. The freaks begin to glance around them and stumble forth as if the chains of enslavement are breaking free. Suddenly, the freaks leave. The circus tents, one by one, collapse, and Will tries, again in vain, to breathe life into Jim’s cold body.

Notes

The collapse of the circus tents and the fact that the freaks leave signal an end to the danger of the carnival. As Dark’s miniature body grows colder, the freaks begin to feel free. His enslavement is finally over, and they slowly begin to realize who they are. Internally, Will urges the freaks to run. He also hopes for Crosetti and Miss Foley to return.


CHAPTER 54

Summary

Some warmth seems to exist beneath Jim’s lifeless body, but Will feels the entire effort is hopeless. He begins to despair. With his despair come tears of sadness. Charles begs him to be happy, and eventually slaps the tears out of him. After some extensive coaxing, Charles gets Will to get up, dance, and sing with happiness. Jim slowly awakens, and joins the merriment. After Jim appears fully recovered, Will asks if the carnival will ever return. Charles says they won’t but other like them will, and maybe not in a recognizable shape. It is even possible that they are already here. They all glance at the carousel, consider their continuing want for its power, and eventually all refuse it, knowing once they start, they will be unable to stop. Charles smashes the machinery, and they all run toward home.

Notes

This final chapter leaves few strings untied. Will, again, starts to despair. Charles, though, gets violently angry when he does. Charles knows that the despair is the only thing that can resurrect the carnival. As a result, he forces Will to be happy, though Will says there is nothing to be happy about. After Jim fully recovers, the boys hug each other and promise to be friends forever, restoring the situation to the natural balance readers sensed in the beginning. Charles smashes the machinery because, though Dark, Cooger, and the freaks are gone, temptation would be far too much for any individual. Regardless of everything they’ve been through, they all still hunger for its power, and they seem to realize that the evil may forever live in all of them. The end of the chapter has Charles running alongside the boys, proving that he’s finally accepted himself.

 

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