| Quote #7
"If I became young again, all my friends would still be fifty, sixty, wouldn't they? I'd be cut off from them, forever, for I couldn't tell them what I'd up and done, could they? They'd resent it. They'd hate me. Their interests would no longer be mine, would they? Especially their worries. Sickness and death for them, new life for me. So where's the place in this world for a man who looks twenty but who is older than Methuselah, what man could stand the shock of a change like that? Carnival won't warn you it's equal to postoperative shock, but, by God, I bet it is, and more!"
Indeed, many of the characters do seem to lose part of their minds when transformed by the carnival. Miss Foley, for example, seems to have lost her sanity when the boys find her as a little girl.
| Quote #8
[Charles Halloway]: "The Fat Man, what was he once? If I can guess the carnival's sense of irony, the way they like to weight the scales, he was once a ravener after all kinds and varieties of lust. No matter, there he lives now, anyway, collected up in his bursting skin. The Thin Man, Skeleton, or what, did he starve his wife's, children's spiritual as well as physical hungers? The Dwarf? Was he or was he not your friend, the lightning-rod salesman, always on the road, never settling, ever-moving, facing no encounters, running ahead of the lightning and selling rods, yes, but leaving others to face the storm, so maybe […]" (40.22)
This passage suggests that the punishment fits the crime when it comes to the transformations brought on by the carnival. But is this really the case? Do people, in some ways, deserve what they get?
| Quote #9
But the name had tumbled from his mouth only because he heard the calliope summing the golden years ahead, felt Jim isolate somewhere, pulled by warm gravities, swung by sunrise notes, wondering what it could be like to stand sixteen, seventeen, eighteen years tall, and then, oh then, nineteen and, most incredible! – twenty! The great wind of time blew in the brass pipes, a fine, a jolly, a summer tune, promising everything and even Will, hearing, began to run toward the music that grew up like a peach tree full of sun-ripe fruit – (51.25)
Even Will has a moment of wanting to grow older. If Will, the supposed "all good" character, can have such a moment, we think it's reasonable that other characters who are markedly "good" or "bad" might have other characteristics as well.