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Themes

Friendship is at the heart of Something Wicked This Way Comes. Two adolescent boys, Jim and Will, struggle together against evil, a fight that tests their friendship. As the novel continues, the differences between the two boys are further highlighted, and the threat they will grow apart looms over the reader. This is one conflict that, unlike the central good vs. evil conflict, is not resolved at the end of the story. The reader is left uncertain as to what the future holds in store for this friendship between two very different boys.

Questions About Friendship

  1. Is it accurate to describe Will and Jim as two sides of the same coin? Or is there a more fundamental difference between them?
  2. What forms the basis of Will and Jim's friendship? Do you see it as a lasting friendship, or will their differences eventually drive them apart?
  3. Does the friendship between Will and Jim change over the course of the novel? What kinds of stressors does their friendship experience? How do they resolve (or not) those issues?
  4. Mr. Halloway muses in Chapter Three: "That's friendship, each playing the potter to see what shape we can make of the other" (3.8). Find examples of how this works in Jim and Will's friendship over the course of the novel. How do the two boys alter and influence one another? Is the net effect positive?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Will and Jim's constant fights over whether or not to ride the carousel reflect a deeper disagreement about the desirability of maturation.

Will and Jim represent the two halves of human nature.

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