Sunday, October 7, 2018

Something Wicked This Way Comes - Week One Discussion #SomethingWickedFall

We started our read-along this past week, reading section was...

Week One (week of Oct. 1st): Prologue - Ch. 17 (pp 1 - 72)

How did it go? What did you think?

Some observations...

At the first, there's the lightning rod salesman. He is a great minor character for foreshadowing. His warning of the coming storm actually seems to have many meanings. The literal storm that may be coming. The storm that comes as a boy hits puberty and all the changes that come with it, and finally, perhaps the hugely disruptive storm that comes in the shape of the carnival rolling into town, which does so in a very strange and uncommon way.

Already, my creep factor is on alert!

I also noticed a theme (trend?) of which some of the older adults seemed to cling to. Will's father, Charles, is described as old. When he looks at the boys, a longing is sensed...for youth and all that goes along with it. He enjoys discussing books with them because then they are on common ground, but that's where it stops. Charles yearns for the youth which has long passed him by.

The two shopkeepers who stand transfixed outside their stores, one listening, the other smelling the smells of carnival food (candy). One has a tear trickle down his face. More longing for the days of youth, when visiting the carnival was probably the most exciting thing all year.

The lighting rod salesman, gazing longingly at the woman in the ice block inside the abandoned hardware store..."The Most Beautiful Woman in the World." Is she a siren encased there in the ice? Does she remind him of youthful days when beautiful girls were perhaps all around him?

Miss Foley going into the mirror menagerie, getting lost, and seeing her younger self lost in the mirrors.

So, a theme...the longing for youth, but what is it that draws Jim? Jim already has youth so what does he long for?

We shall see as we continue to read.

What are your thoughts on my observations? Any observations of your own? Share in the comments below.

Next reading section: Week Two (week of Oct. 8th): Ch. 18 - 29 (pp 73 - 145)
Discussion post next Sunday.

Happy Reading!

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  1. I read this book for the first time last October, so it's a re-read for me this time. All the references to age and youth definitely stand out, but this time around, I'm also finding myself noticing all the emphasis on the differences between Jim and Will. I really love Bradbury's insights about the relationship between friends who are unequally matched but maybe don't know it yet, or aren't old enough to realize that the unevenness matters. I loved this passage: "So there they go, Jim running slower to stay with Will, Will running faster to stay with Jim, Jim breaking two windows in a haunted house because Will's along, Will breaking one window instead of none, because Jim's watching. God, how we get our fingers in each other's clay. That's friendship, each playing the potter to see what shape we can make of the other." Lines like these are why I love Bradbury.

    1. Bradbury is such a fantastic writer. I just finished up his Halloween Tree and that was also full of insightful and prosodic lines.

  2. I think Jim is longing to be an adult so he can travel to find his dad and be with him and to leave this town that has left him behind.

    I think Bradbury does such a great job on themes about where we are at every stage in life. Kids want to be adults and adults long to be young's the circle of life.

  3. I think this is the third time I've read Something Wicked This Way Comes, but the last time was 15(!) years ago. It feels a little different as I'm creeping into middle age.

    Re: the theme of time and longing for "youth." I'm not sure it's youth, but maybe innocence? Both boys are 13, but Jim is the older one. (I didn't remember their birthdays being Oct. 30th & 31st.) Jim has already passed over the puberty line with his interest in the "Theater" and his red-of-tooth-and-claw taste in literature. He has less innocence, though Bradbury does imply that maybe this is intrinsic to Jim. Will kind of purposefully turns his back on that stuff and remains more of a kid.

    Mr. Halloway seems to be the character furthest from youth (and innocence?). He's looking mortality in the eye, even though he's only 53. Bradbury was 42 when Something Wicked was published. Surely, he couldn't think 53 was *that* old?!

    1. I kept thinking the same thing. In the beginning, Mr. Halloway seems so much older than 53. Obviously, that works to the story's advantage, but it was a little disconcerting.

  4. I agree with the references to age and youth.
    I've never read anything by Bradbury before. I was surprised by how lyrical the writing was. The creepy, magical-ness gets a little lost for me because the language makes everything seem special.

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