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Free Study Guide for Something Wicked This Way Comes

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Will Halloway

Will drives the story. He appears as a highly typical boy-next-door type of thirteen-year-old. He is continually referred to as good. It is his overall goodness, though, and his discovery of that, that allows him to save himself and Jim. He, more than Jim, creates the loss of innocence in the novel, as Jim’s innocence seems lost from the start. He wants and needs a relationship with his father, Charles. That relationship, though, does not exist until the end of the text.

Jim Nightshade

Jim is unhappy with his life from the start of the novel. He no longer has a father, and he’s lost two siblings. He’s mildly angry, and he’s in search of the elusive something better. He’s hungry for excitement and adventure on a constant basis. He starts the lack of contentment in life theme, and deals with it until the final scene of the book. He also brings most of the trouble the boys find themselves in.

Charles Halloway

Charles tries to be a good man, but he’s usually so busy thinking about it that he has little time for doing it. He wants to be part of Will’s life, but he feels unable to communicate with him because of the vast age difference. Only at the end of the novel does Charles realize that the only thing that matters is happiness. The discovery of how to destroy the carnival is, though, to his credit.


Dark’s sinister nature both draws people in and pushes them away. It is impossible to tell his age, as with the carousel, age is not a factor for him. It is clear, though, that he enjoys pain in all forms. He physically tattoos his body on a regular basis. He puts those who are not content with their lives through mental anguish and holds them prisoner. His name is reflective of his character.


The text is broken into three parts: arrivals, pursuits, and departures. The arrivals section deals primarily with the exposition and rising action of the story. We meet all of the necessary and important characters, and by the end of the arrivals section, we know about the hidden evils of the carnival. We also know the carnival will undoubtedly pursue the boys for hurting Cooger. The pursuits section also deals with the rising action of the story. By the end of section, the boys have been captured by the carnival, as have all of the rest of the carnivals’ victims. It is, however, also by the end of this section that the reader, through Charles’ actions, knows it will be possible to defeat the carnival. The departures section contains the climax, the falling action, and the resolution, but most of those don’t occur until the final chapter. With Charles’ knowledge of how to defeat the carnival, he defeats the Dust Witch, and subsequently Dark, the major threat of the novel. Dark’s fall leads to the fall of the entire carnival. It is not, though, those defeats which save Jim. Jim is only saved through Charles’ realization that joy, merriment, and true content with life are the only saving graces.


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