Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

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Ideas for Reports and Papers

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. Bradbury places three epigraphs in the front of his book—a line from the poet W. B. Yeats, a proverb, and a line from Herman Melville's Moby Dick. Why are they there? How are they relevant to the novel?

2. Time is an issue in this novel. Charlie Halloway says, when he cannot sleep, "We are blind to continuity, all breaks down, falls, melts, stops, rots, or runs away." Read chapter 14, and explain what Charlie means by this.

3. Read Dandelion Wine and comment on the novels' similarities. What does each have to say about childhood?

4. In chapter 22, Robert, Will, and Jim are running from Miss Foley. The narrator comments, "And so they ran, three animals in starlight. A black otter. A tomcat. A rabbit." Why are these three boys characterized in such terms. Where else in the novel do animal motifs appear?

5. Charles Halloway hears a Christmas carol in October:

Then pealed the bells more loud and
deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right Prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to
men!"

What is the significance of the verse and why is it appropriate that it should appear at the beginning of the novel? Does it give you a sense of what is to come?