Study Guide

Something Wicked This Way Comes Genre

By Ray Bradbury


Horror, Coming-of-Age

Our favorite creepy moment comes right at the end of Chapter 42. Let's see if we can reconstruct it for you. Mr. Dark, our evil villain extraordinaire, is stalking the dark aisles of the local town library searching for Will and Jim. Unable to find the two boys, he begins weaving a gruesome tale about Will's mom. (Yes, he went there.) He waits for the sound of sobbing to direct him to the boys, and once he has found them, he smiles. Reaches down. Pats Will's head. Says, "Hello."

Talk about Horror. Something Wicked This Way Comes has definitely got it in spades. But scary moments aside, it is also a coming-of-age story. (Any novels about anyone who is thirteen are probably going to be, in part, about growing up.) Will and Jim have been friends forever, but their friendship becomes strained when it is clear that Jim wants to grow up much faster than Will. The story acts, actually, as a kind of reverse coming of age, as Will fights to keep his friend young. You can also think about Mr. Halloway's age reversal in this context. Innocent boyhood is placed at the pinnacle of existence here in the novel.