Saturday, October 17, 2015

Something Wicked This Way Comes

When Ray Bradbury was a young boy, he went -- along with every other kid in his neighborhood -- to see the carnival that had just arrived in his small midwestern town. Among the acts that attracted his special attention was one "Mr. Electrico," a performer of an act that was quite popular back in the 1930's, that of an "electric man," or, in his case, a man in an "electric chair." The trick was based on a version of the "Tesla" coil: the eletricity that danced over Mr. Electrico's chair and body -- Bradbury even recalls it sparking among his teeth -- was high-voltage low-amerage high-frequency current. Such current has the curious ability to leap through space like lightning, but its low amperage and high frequency render it unable to penetrate the body. The performer, of course, must still be very "well-grounded" in his art, but so long as he is, there's no harm, despite the extraordinary spectacle (even today, the Australian performer Peter Terren -- a.k.a. "Dr. Electric" -- does a similar act).

But Mr. Electrico had a slight variation in his: equipped with a sword, he would reach out and touch members of the audience -- if they dared. Ray dared. He stepped forward, and Mr. Electrico touched him on his shoulder, like a monarch dubbing a knight, shouting forth "Live Forever!" as he did so. And the damned thing worked -- for, although Brabury died in 2012, his works, as surely as those of Shakespeare or the Brontës, will live forever among us.

Published in 1962, Something Wicked This Way Comes is, for this and many other reasons, Bradbury's most personal, most intense novel. It's set in the same sort of town he grew up in, and it too starts with a bolt of lightning. From that point onward, the citizens of this place would be well advised to be cautious -- and yet, for some reason they don't see the peril they face in this dark carnival of souls. It's up to two young boys, and their father -- the custodian at the town library -- to fight back. It's a story with resonances with Invasion of the Body Snatchers, or The Circus of Dr. Lao, a novel written in 1935 and made into a Hollywood film in 1964, two years after Something Wicked appeared. But Bradbury's art, the art of this book, reaches before and ahead of any other such tales; it has an urgency that only someone who knew the stakes -- in both books and life -- would know.

18 comments:

  1. Something Wicked This Way Comes is by far my favorite of all the books we’ve read so far this semester. I liked how it was on our planet, I liked the characters, and I just liked the concept in general. It was a quick read, and kept my interest throughout the entire novel. I enjoyed the characters a lot, and found that the concept of time was very prominent within the novel. Time is something that, in reality, we can never get back, and it is the most valuable thing that we have. The carousel at the carnival changes this and allows people to age forward and backward all they want. Although, this can backfire in some cases. If you go too far, such as Mr. Cooger, you will be incapable of speech or any kind of movements. This machine also allows anyone who owns it, to be in control/ manipulate other people. Older people tend to want to be young again, like Mr. Halloway did in the beginning of the novel, and young people want to be older because they see it as more freedom and independence. Mr. Dark knows that this is what people want and he uses it to his advantage. He tells people that they can have a free ride on the carousel and then he takes them into the carnival as one of his own. This promotes the idea that you should always be living either in the future or the past and both of those are unhealthy mindsets. One should always try to live in the present and savor each moment because time is fleeting and you can never get it back. “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift, that’s why it’s called the present.” (Elizabeth Cook)

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  2. Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked this way comes is a fantasy/supernatural novel in which good and evil conflict. The book is about two boys Will and Jim who are both thirteen years old. One day they are told that a carnival is coming to town and they are excited about it but Charles, Will's father, has a bad feeling about this carnival. When the carnival arrives, both Jim and Will do not miss one show but things start to get creepier once they see Mr.Cooger ride the carousal backwards and watches him turn into a twelve year old. By now Mr. Dark, the one in charge of the carnival, and the Dust witch look for the boys but Charles defeats the witch with laughter and kills Mr.Dark with affection when he sees that Jim is almost dead from riding on the carousel. In the end both Charles and Will dance and laugh joyfully and revive Jim! In the end all it took to defeat the evil people was simple happiness. One of the messages in this story is how good and evil always revolves around our daily lives, whether good meaning having good values
    and evil being sin, is just an example of good and evil and what Bradbury is saying is that happiness and love is the anecdote to it because you choose to have a positive perspective. Another theme that stands out is the old wanting to be younger and the young wanting to be older. At some point when we were young, we kind of wished we were older, because that means being mature and independent
    but on the other hand, older people desire to relive their adolescent lives again and this is an ongoing unsatisfying reality that we face everyday but Bradbury basically ends his story hinting out that we should be satisfied where we are in life because we would not be able to handle the consequences or changes if our wishes were to come true of fast forwarding to adulthood or rewinding to the past, instead be content of your present. (Kathy Mateos)

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  3. “Something Wicked This Way Comes” by Ray Bradbury was a very interesting novel. I think the fact that it had more of a focus on fantasy rather than science fiction made it easier to follow. The two main themes in this novel that I found the most compelling were age and the power of happiness. Bradbury makes it clear that age is irrelevant. For example, Will and Jim assist their teacher through the maze. Aren’t teacher’s supposed to hold all of the information and be the ones to assist their students, not the other way around? Bradbury emphasizes the fact that this isn’t always the case. It doesn’t matter how many physical years you have been on Earth, it matters how you view the world and how you use your understanding of it to help yourself and others succeed. This is definitely something that I have come to agree with just by observing how people of all ages act in the world. I am a strong believer in staying positive and making the best out of all situations. The focus on happiness and its power to destroy evil is something I found very intriguing. The beings from the carnival are evil beings, and the contagiousness of positivity killing them off says a lot about the potential our society would have with this mindset in effect. Not only does it take away the negative forces that we do not want, but it also can bring the ‘good people’ back from a close to death state, as we saw with Jim at the end of the novel. This novel reminds me to not take age for granted, and to stay positive and spread happiness in all walks of life.

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  4. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury is a fantasy with a dark twist. It is the story about two boys, Will Holloway and Jim Nightshade. It is October and normally carnivals do not come after Labor Day; however, one arrives at three in the morning, the time known as soul’s midnight, which is run by Mr. Dark, also known as the illustrated man. This is a special carnival that feeds on souls. It grants people desires, such as becoming younger like Miss Foley, but in return they must pay the ultimate price by becoming part of the act. This is by far my favorite book. It was an easy read that moved along quickly, and at times I literally did not want to put it down. Chapter 31 was by far my favorite chapter as it was short and straight to the point; more authors should be like this. All jokes aside, I just liked the length of all the chapters because it made me feel as though I was a fast reader. There were intense and frightening moments where I was actually worried about the characters. Prior to reading the book, I had an idea what the story was about because I ow the movie. However, I was surprised by the differences between the two. For example, the lighting salesman was turned into a dwarf in the book, but in the movie he was Mr. Electrico, as they were trying to get information out of him. In contrast, Mr. Cooger in the book was Mr. Electrico after he became incredibly old after going forward on the carousal and almost to the point of death. The dust witch was also different because in the book her eyes were sewed shut, but in the movie she looked like a normal woman, with the exception of when she turns around as the boys are discovered hiding and watching them. One of my favorite parts of the book was when the dust witch was in a balloon searching for Will and Jim. This part for me was so intense I was scared for the boys. The fact that although she was blind she was able to sense them and mark their house with silver mercury paint was creepy. Also, as the witch drew closer and Jim’s bow broke in half, I felt that all was lost for them. However, Jim threw the arrow, popping the balloon, and sending it wildly away from them. I thought that she was done for; however, she was still alive. This book was an exciting ride, and showed that the good and love within people can overcome evil.(Amanda Lussier)

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  5. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Rat Bradbury is a fantasy story that doesn't have that much to do with science. This was one of my favorite story because of that reason. The two boys Will and Jim find out that the next day there will be a carnival. Charles ( Will's father) has a bad feeling about the carnival, and Will senses his father's fear.The boys help there seventh grade teacher out of the mirror maze. A huge man grabs Will and Jim and tells them that the merry-go-round is broken. A man named Mr. Dark tells him to put them down. Mr. Cooger is on the carousel, growing older, and Jim is about to join him. Will knocks the switch on the carousel and it flies out of control, spinning and moving forward. They return with the police, but Mr. Cooger is nowhere to be found. Inside the tents he is set up as a new act, Mr. Electrico, a man they run electricity through. The Dust Witch comes in with her balloon to find Jim and Will, but Will outsmarts her and destroys her balloon. Mr. Halloway was at the library, where he has done some research and found out some things about the carnival. He tells them that their best weapon is love, but they are not sure how to fight. Mr. Dark crushes Charles Halloway's hand when the man tries to fight him. The Dust Witch casts spells on the boys to make them easy to handle and goes to stop Mr. Halloway's heart. At the carnival Charles Halloway outsmarts Mr. Dark, finds his son, kills the Witch, and destroys the Mirror Maze in a matter of minutes, all through the use of laughter and happiness. The carnival falls apart as Will tries to revive Jim. They save Jim by singing and dancing and laughing. I think i really enjoyed this one because its entertaining and I like going to carnivals. I didn't expect to see that happiness and laughter is how they are able to kill these creatures. It showed that good people can work together to beat the evil in others. The adventure they go on seems really cool and sometimes you just have to go with your gut feeling. (Jaimee Barrett)

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  6. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Rat Bradbury is one of my favorites so far!! I love how it was more to a fantasy genre than science fiction. This was such a good read, I was visualizing what was actually happening at the same time. This novels amount of creepiness is perfect for Halloween right around the corner! I must say that just ordinary carousels are pretty creepy for me, never mind one that can bring you to the future or past. The purpose of one to do this would to become happier such as when the boys went on to become older so they wouldn't have to listen to anyone anymore. Or for Mr. Cooger who rides it to become 12 again. And just imagine seeing that? I wouldn't be able to get it out of my head. Now as you feel as this might be "cool" it can relapse at any moment and you can be permanently harmed. Mr. Dark has control of the carousel and manipulates people to ride it for "free". This is dangerous because you need to stop living in the past and focus on the present. You're future is what you're present makes it. This novel kept me interesting the entire time, and was happy we were able to read it around this time of year!

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  7. Something Wicked This Way Comes has been my favorite book so far! I really enjoyed the creepy carnival theme because it made me excited to learn what was happening next. The foreshadowing from the lightning rod salesman was interesting and I thought it set up the beginning of he story very well. From the moment the carnival came to town it was shrouded in mystery which was why this novel was an easy read. There was mystery because I had no idea what fantastical twist the carnival would take next or how the boys would solve it. It was thrilling because the plot points were exciting and sudden. This was science fiction because it had supernatural elements like the dust witch and the magical carousel. This story was multi faceted which I believe led to it's pull of the reader. I enjoyed reading this novel but my favorite part was when Charles Halloway ( Will's father) defeats the dust witch and saves the town with love. He uses laughter and happiness to overcome the evil and putting this cliché love conquers evil was a simplistic way to end the overwhelming story. The love aspect was a powerful and simple way to end the film on a high note which I loved. ( Erin Shea)

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  8. Something Wicked this way Comes is something different from what we've read. It happens in the late 1900s and takes place on Earth! I liked this book particularly because I like carnivals and scary things. This novel combined fun with horror and I think that is fantastic. I think the characters in the book are all good and they interact well. I have never read a horror book and I think this was a good one to start with being that it was mild. I liked Mr. Dark's character particularly because he had tattoos that manipulated things/people. I think that's a cool magic. I was expecting this novel to be different. I was expecting something from maybe outer space or some futuristic possibility. All in all, it was a good book and I would be interested in watching the movie
    Cherie smith

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  9. Something Wicked this way Comes is a little different from the normal books we had been reading. The past 2 books we read hadn't been my favorite but i was glad because i particularly enjoyed this book. William and James the main characters in this book are two young boys. After going in the mirror maze to help there teacher, then jim goes in and will has to pull him out they end up running into to the lightning sales mans bag and the mystery, rather spooky part to the story begins. I enjoyed this exciting book. At some points it got a little weird and i thought it was interning how they use laughter and happiness to overpower the ending. I'm excited to see how the rest of the books play out and relate to this one. I am also interested to see the similarities and differences the story has to the film.
    (Gabrielle Demers)

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  10. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Rat Bradbury is by far my favorite read so far! The fact that it is in the fantasy genre and fits the theme of Halloween, which is right around the corner, makes it a more enjoyable read. I was never a fan of carousels and the one in the novel has the ability to bring you to the past and future, this is one I would not be on. I enjoyed how I could picture what was being said in the novel and stay interested in the text. Sure seeing the future could make someone happy, or going back to the past, like Mr. Cooger and being 12 again , could make an older person happy, but life is about focusing on the present and what is going on right now. Going back to the past is just another way to dwell on mistakes, those mistakes need to be looked past and just focus on the present because it will make your future. Trying to change your future can harm what you have done in the present permanently. I would recommend this novel to someone who is looking for a great read! (Kelsey Wood)

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  11. Something Wicked this way comes by Ray Bradbury, is another favorite read of mine. It was very different compared to the other stories we have read this semester. I loved how it was spooky with the carousel that can bring you to the past and future was very fascinating to me. I liked how the characters were described and their roles. While I was reading I can actually picture what was going on so it made me very interested on what was going to happen next. I have never read a horror story, this is my first and I actually enjoyed reading it .I look forward to the rest of the books that we will be reading for the rest of this semester. (Jesenia Martinez )

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  12. Something Wicked was a very strange book, however was very good. I have read the book before in high school, however this time reading it I noticed a lot more details that I did not notice before. A lot of the events and things mentioned in the book, in my opinion, are very ironic. A carousel spins a circle, forward and backwards. When the carousel goes backwards, the person on the ride becomes younger, or "goes back in time", and vise versa. In a sense, it is like fast forwarding and or rewinding. Another factor I found ironic is the character, Mr. Dark. Mr. Dark gives off a "creepy" look, working at the carnival and covered in tattoos and is mysterious. He ends up being "the bad guy" in the story. Because of his mysterious character, having his name as "Dark" gives clues to the reader that he is the antagonist. There was a lot of imagery throughout the book, similar to most fantasy novels. I felt like I was personally in the story. The only downside to the book is that I found it quite predictable. I seemed to always know what was going to happen next. I thought the end of the novel was weird. They were singing and being silly and laughing and to me that just made the novel seem more creepy than it already was. Out of all the books we have read so far, I enjoyed this one the most. I would definitely recommend it to someone else!

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  13. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury this way comes is definitely my favorite novel from the semester so far. I absolutely loved it. In the book, we follow as the two young boys Jim and Will get caught up in a very strange carnival run by Mr. Dark and Mr. Cooger. With the help of Will's father, they figure out that the carnival is a dangerous yet completely bizarre place to be as they see the true colors of Cooger, Dark, and later on the Dust Witch. Having the carousel that aged the rider by the direction it was going was my favorite part of this whole book. When the boys watched Mr. Cooger riding the carousel backwards with the song playing backwards too, was in my opinion, creepy yet genius. Something Wicked was a great read and I would read it again.

    Amanda Belluscio

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  14. Something Wicked was a very good book. it was very strange at first and stayed strange throughout the book, but it was in a good way! the creativity and thoughts in this book was very entertaining to read about. In the book, a carousel spins in a circle, forward and backwards. But when the carousel spins goes backwards the person on the ride becomes younger and vise versa. The characters in this novel also played a big part of why i enjoyed reading this book, there were scary and their roles was explained throughout the book, which is different than a lot of books that i've read before. I enjoyed that in the book because i found it really cool that there is carousel that can bring u back and forward in time! This book was imaginary just like the other novels that we read before, but instead of a happy or content fantasy, it is a dark and scary, which to me was a cool change to read about and kept me focused on the book.

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  15. I can say honestly that this book is very unique. It presents characters and ideas that are very spooky and unconventional. And the author is able to instill fear in his audience just through the power of his words. i found myself looking behind my shoulder often times as I was reading through the novel just in case something was behind me. The plot development also kept me intrigued and wanting to read further on. the concept of the carosoul was interesting because the concept of time being relative is fun for authors to play with but normally don’t do it effectively. However in something wicked this way comes. it appears as he did it very effectively.

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  16. This story Something Wicked This Way Comes is spooky and different then any other story I have read. It follows two young boys that end up at a carnival. They find out that it is a dangerous but yet completely bizarre place to be. They find this out from Will’s dad. It is interesting to me that the carousel in the story aged the rider when it spun around. This would never happen in real life and if it did it would be the creepiest thing ever.

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  17. The Novel was least to say a little creepy. Some moment I felt chills. It almost makes me never want to go to the carnival again. The electric chair was too scary for me and this novel didn't fulfill my reading desires. I found it interesting that Charles like many other people try want nothing more then youth. Isn't odd that when we are young we wish and dream to grow and be an adult. But once we be an adult like we wished for , for so long we want our youth and innocence back. Why is that? Seems as humans we can never be happy where our life is.Were always striving for things in life that we once had but couldn't realize at the time the importance of it. We should be great-full and cherish each day we are given.

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  18. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury is odd to say the least, definitely has its creepy aspects. My dad always told me that carnivals are creepy and what makes them creepy are the carnies that work in them sort of like gypsies but a little "touched" as he put it. that always made me laugh and just this past summer i went to a carnival with my boyfriend and i realized how creepy they really are, all the workers made me uncomfortable. I guess carnivals today and back in my dad's day are much different. The thought of being able to hop onto a carousel and it'll change how old or young you are is a curious thing. If you could go back and be young again and do things better than you did the first time, would you? If you could jump forward a few years and have more freedom, would you? but if you go to far in either direction there will obviously be serious consequences... imagine how bizarre it would be if this could actually happen in real life! Would it be like the old abandoned house at the end of your street your parents always told you to stay away from? Always listen to your dad's stories from when he was a kid! (K.Overly)

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