Charles Halloway shatters the entire Mirror Maze with the laughter that demonstrates his acceptance of everything. He and Will search for Jim and when they hear the carousel they know where Jim will be. With the moon as their guide, they begin to search for Jim. Charles Halloway tells his son that they must find Jim and deal with Mr. Cooger and Mr. Dark.
As they run towards the carousel Will and his father see some of the freaks standing in the background. Will wonders why they do not attack, and Charles Halloway thinks that they are scared after seeing what happened to the witch. They stumble upon a group of freaks bringing Mr. Electrico to the carousel in order to turn him back into Mr. Cooger. Mr. Halloway yells and the group starts to run. Suddenly a sigh moves through all of the freaks, and as they round a corner and are hit with dust Charles Halloway realizes that the dust is all that remains of Mr. Cooger. The freaks dropped the chair and the ancient man crumbled to bits. Will wonders why they dropped the chair and he sees Jim standing between them and the carousel.
Jim approaches the carousel and Will runs to get him. Jim grabs a pole with his hand and is swung around, with only his one hand trailing out. Will tries to get a hold of his friend, misses, and waits for him to come around again. He screams Jim's name and Jim awakens from his trance. When Jim comes around again, Will grabs his hand, but Jim does not jump. He pulls Will's hand in with him, so Will's hand ages as his body runs alongside. Each tries to pull the other, and Will falls onto the machine with his friend. They travel half a circle around and then, holding his friends hand, Will leaps off. Jim screams, holding onto his friend and the machine, and falls to the ground motionless.
While they ponder whether or not their friend is alive, a boy runs over to them, claiming that the man with tattoos is after him. Charles Halloway tells Will to try artificial respiration for Jim and then follows the boy. He asks the boy his name, and when the boy urges him on he slows down. Mr. Halloway grabs the boy and rips off his shirt, and the boy is covered in tattoos. Nine-year-old Mr. Dark tries to escape, but Charles Halloway grips his arm tight. Mr. Dark claims that the man cannot hurt him, but Will's father says that he can, and embraces the boy in a hug. He holds the boy and asks him what is wrong with Jim but Mr. Darks does not offer any help. The affection is torment to Mr. Dark, and after a few moments the boy falls back, lifeless.
Throughout the entire book, Jim struggles to come to terms with who he is. He is a thirteen year old boy who dreams of being older, and the offer of the carousel is too much for him. He cannot refuse this chance to instantly become what he thinks he wants to become. At the same time, throughout the novel Jim has Will there to remind him how good it is to be a boy. The scene on the merry-go-round is the climax of Jim's struggle, and it is a miniature version of the entire struggle. Will tries to hold his friend back but is unable to, and Jim wants to be with Will but would rather drag him along then get off. Finally, Will takes matters into his own hands and tries to pull Jim off, but Jim is caught between staying and going and is practically destroyed by the outcome. Even after all of the evil of the carnival, Jim still wants something desperately enough to risk everything else for it. Perhaps there are some desires that people will always wish to fulfill, and it is simply better if there is no possible way to do so. He has to give it a try. Jim is not the type of person to want to do something and not try it. Part of Jim wants to be with his friend, and another part of him wants to try out the adventure of being older. But it was not possible for Jim to reconcile these two parts. He had to either stay on or go, and when Will jumped he made the decision that his friend could not make. That is not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes someone else may help us make our toughest decisions, because we are unable to decide one way or another on our own.
Charles Halloway kills Mr. Dark by offering him the warmth and compassion that people thrive on. But to a man who for centuries had cultivated nothing but evil and fed on loathing and despair, Mr. Halloway's actions had the effect of destroying everything that life was based upon. The death of the Illustrated Man, like that of the Witch, was simply due to an inability to handle the good side of humanity. They were scared to death of happiness, and it killed them just as the average person may die of fright. The greatest weapon that humanity has against evil therefore is the good inherent in all of us. Love, laughter, and the feelings of happiness are enough to overcome the evils in most of us, and in the same way they destroy true evil. When we are angry or spiteful, the loving words of someone we care about are often enough to chase any evil thoughts from our minds. We are engaged in a continual battle against evil, and it is important to remember that the greatest weapons that we have stem from good. Bradbury may not be suggesting that good always triumphs over evil, for certainly bad things happen to good people, but that it is our best weapon in a battle that must be fought.
Take a Study Break
Every Shakespeare Play Summed Up in a Quote from The Office
Honest Names for All the Books on Your English Syllabus
Pick 5 Books and We'll Tell You What Netflix Show You Should Binge-Watch This Summer
QUIZ: Can You Identify the Shakespeare Play By Its Most Popular Quote?
Every Marvel Movie Summed Up in a Single Sentence
QUIZ: Are You a Hero, a Villain, or an Anti-Hero?
Pick 10 Books and We'll Guess Whether You're an Introvert or an Extrovert