Something Wicked This Way Comes

by: Ray Bradbury

Important Quotations Explained

Quotes Important Quotations Explained

"I suppose one night hundreds of thousands of years ago in a cave by a night fire when one of those shaggy men wakened to gaze over the banked coals at his woman, his children, and thought of their being cold, dead, gone forever. Then he must have wept. And he put out his hand in the night to the woman who must die some day and to the children who must follow her. And for a little bit next morning, he treated them somewhat better, for he saw that they, like himself, had the seed of night in them."

In the library, before Mr. Dark comes, Charles Halloway describes to Will and Jim how he thinks human kindness first came about. People began to treat each other well, in his vision, because they were conscious of their mortality, and the fact that everyone would eventually die. From that consciousness came empathy. He says that understanding others' conditions allows us to feel for them. We are kind to people because we know what it is like to deal with the things that they have to deal with; or, if we do not know directly, we can imagine. But we all must deal with death. So, Mr. Halloway says, rather than treat each other cruelly we can view fellow human beings as participants in a common game. This speech is important because it contains the key to defeating Mr. Dark and the carnival. They must use kindness and their friendship to battle the forces that would divide each person from the rest and then conquer them all separately. The carnival is no match for the goodwill of a community, and they will have to make do with a community of three.