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Free Study Guide-Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES

CHAPTER 14

Summary

Will, lying in bed, is glad to be back in the safety of his home. He can hear his father quietly talking to himself, repeating the word 'three.' Will realizes that 'three' was the time the train arrived, and he desperately hopes his father did not follow the train as he and Jim had. Will is, however, unsure as to why he is frightened at the thought of his father having followed the train.

Charles perches on the side of his bed and once again considers why the train might have arrived at three in the morning. He realizes that at three in the morning, women are asleep, but middle-aged men are feeling a complete sense of hopelessness. Charles goes on to consider that three a.m. is the time, according to doctors, when you're the nearest to dead, when your soul has left your body.


Charles slowly lets his imagination go crazy with thoughts of pain and death. He forces his thoughts to stop, and his wife murmurs his name in her sleep and smiles. He considers why she has reason to smile and immediately thinks of Will. He feels that despite the fact that Will is his son too, he can never know the bond and sense of peace that children bring their mothers. He senses that no man can understand the sense of shaping time women feel through their children. As a result, men have a mean sensation that causes sleeplessness, particularly at three a.m. His wife begins to wake and asks him if he's okay. He, however, does not answer because he can't tell her how he is.

Notes

Will's sense of safety in his home is once again shattered by his father and thoughts of the carnival. Will knows something is evil about the carnival, but he doesn't understand it. He first felt it when Charles burned the carnival advertisement, and it is growing. Charles' thoughts of why the carnival arrives at three a.m. highlights the sense of hopelessness he representatively feels for all middle aged men who ceaselessly wish to be something they can't: youthful. His inability to answer his wife at the end of the chapter again represents his sheer inability to communicate any of his feelings, something that will cause problems for both he and Will as the novel continues.

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Free Study Guide-Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
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