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Something Wicked This Way Comes Essay, Research Paper

In Ray Bradbury?s novel Something Wicked This Way Comes, the two protagonists, boys, both nearly fourteen years old, go by the names of Will and Jim. They live in a small town, next door to each other. Often, they are thought to be complete opposites, but if the reader looks closely, they can see similarities existing within the differences. Though Will and Jim have differences, which Bradbury shows in part by the way that other characters perceive them and how daring they each are, the boys also share similarities, such as their origins and mutual fear of the carnival people.

Primarily, Bradbury displays the differences between Will and Jim through Charles Halloway?s opinions about the boys and Jim?s recklessness and Will?s prudence. Charles Halloway, Will?s father, has distinct opinions about the boys? personalities. Charles, alone in the library, thinks about the two boys, ?That?s Jim, all bramble hair and itchweed. And Will? Why he?s the last peach, high on a summer tree? (14). This passage portrays the boys as two very different characters. Charles compares Jim to ?bramble hair and itchweed,? showing that those who know Jim best discern him turbulent, harsh and definite. At the same time Charles relates Will to ?the last peach,? indicating that Will is seen as innocent, introverted and even a little sheltered. Another example of the boys? differing personalities, is when Will is chasing Jim, while Jim hurries to their teacher?s house. Will thinks, ? I talk, Jim runs? I got a bank account. Jim?s got the hair on his head, ? the shirt on his back and the tennis shoes on his feet?. I tend cows. Jim tames Gila monsters? (35). All these comparisons that Will is pondering illustrate that Will is more practical while Jim is more spontaneous. ?I talk, Jim runs? shows that while Will thinks things through and talks about them, Jim does these things without any

thought of their consequences. The fact that Will has a bank account while Jim has only what he?s wearing indicates that Will plans for the future while Jim worries only for the present. ?I tend cows. Jim tames Gila monsters? suggests that Jim would rather experience the excitement of danger than the boredom of security, while Will would prefer the opposite. Jim and Will have many differences, but like everything in life, they also share many similarities.

Moreover, the similarities between Jim and Will include, among other things, their similar origins and mutual dread of the carnival people. Will and Jim both feel a lot of pride because they share such similar backgrounds. When the lightening-rod salesman first meets the two friends, he can tell, ?by their voices, [that] the boys had told the tale all their lives, proud of their mothers, living house next to house, running for the hospital together, bringing sons into the world seconds apart?? (6). The two boys are conceived, born and grow up as near to each other as two boys can and therefore, their backgrounds are very much the same. Their similar beginnings are significant in accentuating their differences. Their origins help the reader to ponder how two characters with such similar backgrounds could be so different. Another attribute that the boys share is their fear of the carnival people. Towards the middle of the novel, Charles, Will, and Jim sit in the library late at night, discussing how they can force the carnival to leave town, when Mr. Dark, the owner of the carnival, walks in, ? ?Someone?s inside.? The boys half rose, bleating in the backs of their mouths. ? The boys ran and vanished in the dark maze? (154). When the boys stand up and cry out, it shows that they do not want this person to come in the library. Then, the boys run and hide from Mr. Dark, indicating that they are

scared of him. Also, the two boys execute these actions simultaneously, symbolizing their thoughts being very synchronized. Because Will and Jim have many differences and similarities, they create a prime example of foil characters.

Ultimately, though Will and Jim have many differences, which are shown by the way that other characters perceive them and how daring they each are, the boys also have many similarities, such as their similar origins and their mutual fear of the carnival people. When one reads deeply into Bradbury?s novel, Something Wicked This Way Comes, it is seen that Will and Jim, the protagonists, share as many similarities as they do differences.

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