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Quotes

Quote #1

Yet this train's whistle!

The wails of a lifetime were gathered in it from other nights in other slumbering years; the howl of moon-dreamed dogs, the seep of river-cold winds through January porch screens which stopped the blood, a thousand fire sirens weeping or worse! the outgone shreds of breath, the protests of a billion people dead or dying, not wanting to be dead, their groans, their sighs, burst over the earth! (12.16-12.17)

Scary! Sound and music – the calliope and the boardwalk, for instance – play a major role in the novel.

Quote #2

They prowled on but found no mysterious midnight spheres of evil gas tied by mysterious Oriental knots to daggers plunged in dark earth, no maniac ticket takers bent on terrible revenges. The calliope by the ticket booth neither screamed deaths nor hummed idiot songs to itself. (15.20)

During the day, all the supernatural elements of carnival are revealed to be quite ordinary. This is first moment in the novel we question the truth of the boys' "scary" experiences.

Quote #3

Mr. Cooger's face was melting like pink wax.

His hands were becoming doll's hands.

His bones sank away beneath his clothes; his clothes then shrank down to fit his dwindling frame.

His face flickered going, and each time around he melted more. (18.96-18.99)

Here we realize without a doubt that the carnival is one creepy, messed-up place where supernatural things are happening. Now we stop questioning the reality of these events.

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