Study Guide

Something Wicked This Way Comes Time

By Ray Bradbury


This theme is intimately connected to "Youth," but also has a force of its own given Bradbury's focus on describing exact times of day and exact times of the year. In Something Wicked This Way Comes, different times of the day and different times of the year have their own particular personalities. Summer people are good while autumn people are evil. A boy born on Halloween and one minute after midnight is much darker and more prone to temptation than a boy born one minute before on October 30th. Three in the morning is a dangerous time of the night. Supporting these ideas, clock references and imagery run throughout the novel.

Questions About Time

  1. Which times of day are represented as good in the novel? Bad?
  2. Track the literal and metaphoric references to clocks. Start with the town clock and the references to women as clocks. Where do these appear? Are there common themes that emerge? (Definitely check out our "Quotes" for more on this.)
  3. Why does is time capitalized so much throughout the novel? For example: "They nest in Time" (14.20). What effect does this have on our understanding of time in the novel?
  4. To what degree is your experience of time in the novel shaped by the perspective of Will and Jim? In other words, do we experience time through their eyes? How is that different from other ways of experiencing time?

Chew on This

Nighttime is always represented as evil in Something Wicked This Way Comes.

Human beings are portrayed as clocks in the novel that can be sped up or wound backwards by the carousel.