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Something Wicked This Way Comes

Ray Bradbury

Study Questions and Essay Topics

Key Facts

Quiz

Study Questions

Will and Jim are contrasted several times in the book (Chapters 3 and nine are prime examples). Are the two boys alike or different? If different, specify exactly how. Use at least three references to the book to back up your answer.

Charles Halloway sees a fundamental difference between Will and Jim. He thinks that Jim is the type of boy who sees the blows before they fall and gets out of their way, while Will is the sort who questions why blows fall. Jim does not ask why they fall, he simply knows that they do. Later we learn that Jim never looks away from the world while Will always looks beyond and around it. Even Will himself thinks that Jim acts while he thinks. Another difference between Jim and Will is that Jim acts and thinks alone, independently, while Will is dependent upon others.

What is the role of magic in Something Wicked This Way Comes?

If Mr. Dark, the Witch and the host of characters involved with the carnival are the only ones who have magic, then it seems clear that magic is a bad thing. However, the forces of good also seem to have some sort of magic on their side. After all, shattering the Mirror Maze with laughter, killing the Witch with a smile, and killing Mr. Dark with kindness seem to be somewhat unbelievable. It may be that the magic of good comes through normal actions, not spells. For laughter is magical in this book, as is loving. Will and his father bring Jim back to life through happiness. One could argue that magic is bad because people will always use it to control others, but then what of the magic that we use all of the time, such as the ability of laughter to heal. It seems that magic is a part of life, and, that, like people, can do good or ill depending on the circumstances and the intentions of the person using it.

Suggested Essay Topics

Assess the role of the freaks in this book. Are they good or bad? How much responsibility should they be given for the acts they performed?

Near the end of the book Mr. Dark watches Charles Halloway with "some respect, some degree of admiration, some concern." Why would the Illustrated Man admire Mr. Halloway? Does his opinion of Mr. Halloway change throughout the book? If so, how?

Mr. Dark represents pure evil. Taking this statement as a premise, what can you conclude about the nature of evil in Bradbury's book? What does that mean about good?

Do Will and Jim grow up during the book? Why or why not? Feel free to argue different ways for each boy.

Who is a more realistic thirteen-year-old, Will or Jim? Explain. If neither is realistic then explain why not.

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summer reading 3

by alexwoodleey, August 05, 2013

Illinois William

A great story

by shin2020, December 04, 2013

This was such a great story!

Quiz for Something Wicked This Way Comes

by llamalovers016, January 01, 2014

For the sixth question, choice A doesn't seem to be correctly phrased. Isn't it "Jim turns Will in" instead of "Jim gives turns Will in"

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