Study Guide

Something Wicked This Way Comes The Supernatural

By Ray Bradbury

The Supernatural

The supernatural in Something Wicked This Way Comes is used primarily in connection with perpetrating evil, although "good" magic is ultimately used to conquer the carnival freaks. Supernatural elements within the novel are powered by human emotion and belief, however. Evil has no hold over characters if they make conscious choices in opposition to it, and the good magic ultimately used to conquer evil is grounded in positive human emotions such as love. Additionally, we see that Bradbury's is a particular brand of supernatural, one intimately connected to the imaginative outlook of adolescent boys.

Questions About The Supernatural

  1. To what extent is the supernatural believable in Something Wicked This Way Comes? Start by thinking about Chapter 24, when the boys and the policemen watch a few carnival acts rehearse. Was the supernatural in operation the whole time?
  2. Is supernatural always employed as a tool of evil in Something Wicked This Way Comes? If no, how does "good" supernatural compare to "evil" supernatural?
  3. We chose to classify this novel as "Horror" in our discussion of the novel, but you might make an argument for "Magical Realism." Do some research on these genres and decide which you think best fits, given the appearance of the supernatural in the text.
  4. What's the difference between the truly horrifying and kid-friendly scary? Which do we have here?

Chew on This

The supernatural in Something Wicked This Way Comes stems from real life issues like love, community, and temptation.

The supernatural element of this novel is simply the dark version of the supernatural element in Bradbury's novel Dandelion Wine.