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Something Wicked This Way Comes

Ray Bradbury
Summary Prologue and Chapters 1–3
Summary Prologue and Chapters 1–3

Charles Halloway ponders his son and his son's best friend, and his thoughts show that he is not as far removed from the youths as he seems. He remembers what it was like to run wild and free, and understands why they need to be that way. But he also understands more, and he sees in the two boys certain fundamental characteristics that shape them one way or another. He can tell that Jim is an adventurer, a risk-taker who understands the dangers of life without really thinking about them. And he also knows that Will does not understand those same dangers because he questions them and thinks about them. Charles Halloway knows that Will at some point will be hurt by blows that Jim is able to dodge. But he thinks that friends shape each other, he feels that Will and Jim are a good pair.

Charles Halloway goes to the bar nightly for one drink. He is a conflicted man, and he needs to calm down the boy inside of him. Charles Halloway is not content, for he looks to quiet the part of him that resembles Jim and Will, even though he fondly remembers the days when he was like them. It is almost as if those memories are painful for him and he wishes to divorce himself from the child he once was. But the youthful part of him is too strong for that to be possible, and it is clear that Charles Halloway lives a life of mixed emotions. He is a man, not a boy, yet this seems to be a false distinction, for one survives inside of the other.