Something Wicked This Way Comes
by Ray Bradbury
Born at exactly one minute to midnight, William Halloway ("Will" to his friends and family, and to you, too) is a boy with blond-white hair who lives with his parents on Oak Street, right next door to his best friend Jim. Life is good for Will. He takes weekly jogs to the library, picks fruit, plays with marbles, and lies in the grass. Will's dad, Charles Halloway, compares Will to the "last peach, high on a summer tree" (3.6), which has something to do with goodness and sweetness and innocence and boyhood. (We bet we're making Will blush with all this praise.)
Will spends most of the novel thinking. No, really, Will is not a big talker, so he spends most of the novel thinking, "Jim, don't do that!" or else "Dad, you're not old!" He is quieter, more thoughtful, more methodical, and slower than Jim. Unlike his friend, he is in no hurry to grow up and is perfectly happy as he is. This, we figure, is precisely why the carnival has such a limited effect on Will's imagination and desire. As Charles Halloway later demonstrates when he shatters the Mirror Maze, the key to combating the carnival's twisted power is pure acceptance of yourself. While most people are restless and dissatisfied with their lives (see Jim's "Character Analysis"), Will's contented happiness makes him impervious to the free tickets and sweet talk that Mr. Dark dishes out.
Well, not completely impervious. Will is human, after all, and he experiences moments of temptation in the novel. For the most part, however, he staunchly resists and tries his hardest to have Jim do the same. Will's resistance is the counterpoint to Jim's insistence and is the source of the greatest tension in their friendship over the course of the novel. We'd say more, but it might spoil our great discussion in "Character Roles." Check it out if you want to know more about Will and Jim's relationship.