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  • Adrianna

    August 2012 Book of the Month: "Something Wicked This Way Comes" by Ray Bradbury

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    This thread is for discussions pertaining to August's 2012 book of the month "Something Wicked This Way Comes" by Ray Bradbury (304 pages). Comment on the book, ask questions, or share your reviews. Conversations can and will continue to take place past the official month of discussion, so don't feel shy. Jump in and share your thoughts whenever!
    Adrianna started this discussion 2 years ago. ( reply | permalink )

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  • Adrianna
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    *****May contain Spoilers!******

    1. We have a third-person narrator in this novel, but how much of this
    narration is influenced by Will and Jim's way of looking at the world? That is,
    how "close" is the narrator to our main characters?

    2. The book is divided into three (four if you count the Prologue) parts:
    Arrivals, Pursuits, and Departures. Do these divisions make sense? What about
    the titles? Who is arriving/pursuing/departing in each?

    3. We discuss in our "In a Nutshell" that Something Wicked This Way Comes can
    be read as the dark side of Dandelion Wine, a novel Bradbury published in 1957
    about one magical summer in the same Green Town, Illinois. Read this other novel
    and tell us what you think. Pay particular attention to thematic similarities
    regarding magic, seasons, and boyhood.

    4. What do you think is the target audience (age group) of Something Wicked
    This Way Comes? How might its meaning change for readers of different age
    groups?

    5. In the Prologue, we learn that Something Wicked This Way Comes is a tale of
    what happens one year when Halloween comes early. What elements of the novel may
    be described as Halloween-ish? What is the significance of Halloween in the
    novel?

    6. What kind of relationship does Will have with his father? How does this
    change over the course of the novel?

    7. Why is Mr. Dark so intent on capturing these two boys in particular?

    8. How much do Will and Jim's birthdays play a role in determining their
    characters? Does this mean that they can't help but exhibit the characteristics
    that they do?

    9. What's going on with that one-sentence chapter? What purpose does that serve
    in the novel?

    10. Charles tells his sons that the carnival preys on those unconnected to the
    community, those whose cries of help will not be heard. Does this seem true
    about the victims we've seen in the novel? What about the schoolteacher?

    posted 2 years ago. ( permalink )
  • Adrianna
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    Cross post from Kimberly (kimberly0114) from Yahoo Cafe Libri (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/cafelibri):

    Serena,

    An interesting aspect of reading this for me was the language, compared to
    many books written more recently.

    As a middle school Language Arts teacher for a number of years, I think
    that the problem I had connecting with it was that it felt too much like
    something I'd read for work :-/ The themes, in particular, were a bit too
    YA, but I did read most of it.

    I was amused by Charles's preoccupation with aging, and I think it was a
    good juxtaposition with the boys' perspectives.

    Kimberly

    posted 2 years ago. ( permalink )
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    • Adrianna

      Adrianna (edited)

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      Responses from others in Yahoo Cafe Libri (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/cafelibri) follows, including Jeffrey (jatta97) and Pauline (paulinekramer55:)

      Jeffrey's response:

      I am captivated by Brandbury's writing style. I don't think it was written
      primarily for young adult readers in anything other than plot outline. It was
      both reflective, in the passive sense of presenting the subjective experience
      caused by external events and descriptive in that it produces a sense of
      strangeness and foreboding, not directly though its plot or the
      personal experiences of the young characters but rather indirectly through the
      context of unanalyzed consciousness, the interior monologue of the characters.

      The two children have just seen the arriving carnival train:

      For a moment, Will watched Jim dance around over there, shirt uplifted, pants
      going on, while off in night country, panting, churning was this funeral train
      all black plumed cars, licorice-colored cages, and a sooty calliope clamoring,
      bringing three different hymns mixed and lost, maybe not there at all.

      Will sees this as night country because of remembrances of train sounds in the
      night he heard when waking up from sleep in the night. The carnival train is
      described as a living thing but also as a funeral train, dirty with a wind
      driven calliope playing itself and emitting an indescribable sound. It appears
      as dark and dirty because see only under moonlight. This is the stuff of
      unconsciousness not self-consciousness.

      I am just starting it however so these are preliminary views.

      ***************

      Pauline's response:

      THAT BRADBURY WORDING..IS GREAT CANT PUT IT DOWN...ABOUT HALF WAY THRU...


      love paulie

      posted 2 years ago. ( permalink )
    • Adrianna

      Adrianna (edited)

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      Follow-up responses from Kimberly in Yahoo Cafe Libri (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/cafelibri):

      Jeffrey, it may not have been written for YA, but it is part if the curriculum
      for many 8-9 graders. I believe he wrote it after an experience when he was 12.

      Kimberly
      Sent from my iPhone

      posted 2 years ago. ( permalink )
    • Adrianna
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      I am going to be cross-posting these responses in the other versions of Cafe Libri. Hope that is ok...

      Yes, I find Bradbury's use of language to be very different compared to more contemporary books that have been written. Albiet, it has been a while since I have ready a Bradbury novel...

      I often feel that way about "classic" literatures, but I am not sure I ever felt that way about Bradbury's writings.

      What themes did you pull out from your reading that you felt were YA? It's been a long long time since I read this one...hoping to pick it up when I am done with my school grading. :D

      posted 2 years ago. ( permalink )
    • Adrianna
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      Really!?!? I find this fascinating, Kimberly! I never got to read any of Bradbury's books during school unless I read them on my own. They were not part of my school's curriculum. I did read it when I was around that age, though, because I enjoyed "Fahrenheit 451" so much. I was really fascinated by Bradbury when I went through my sci-fi genre period as a young child.

      Does anyone have research that indicates this was based on experiences when he was 12? I don't doubt it at all, Kimberly, as I find as a writer we often write about what we know best. I am just curious to read up on the matter.

      posted 2 years ago. ( permalink )
  • Adrianna
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    I just got my copy of the book, and I plan to start reading it in between my house cleaning. I've put off way too much work because of teaching and school, so I am playing catch-up now. I'll post some comments about "Something Wicked" once I get a little further along in it.

    posted 2 years ago. ( permalink )
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    • Adrianna
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      I've made it through a few chapters-- not much to comment about, although I see what some members have mentioned about the writing style throwing them off. It's a very unique way of presenting information and introducing the characters. I enjoy the contrasts between the three main characters thus far, Will, Jim, and Will's father. I am just starting chapter 5, with the arrival of the circus. The preoccupation with time and aging is really interesting for me as I just turned 29. I was speaking with some friends about aging at my birthday party, having kids, and other aspects about life. I can't help but wonder how it will change my reading from when I was a youth...time will tell!

      I'll sure to post more comments soon. It's difficult balancing reading time with cleaning and writing time. ;)

      posted 2 years ago. ( permalink )
  • Adrianna
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    Through chapter 11:

    Slowly making my way through the book when I am able to make time. I remember enjoy the writing style more as a young person than I am as an adult. I can understand better why some members stopped reading because it does through off the narrative focus...I find myself paying too much attention to the way things are written rather than what is being said. However, I do think that is part of the fun of the story.

    Not too much to comment on yet, but I did have a question about a reference made in chapter 6. What is the Theater that the boys are referring to where people dance naked? Is it like a brothel? This was a detail that I definitely ignored or read over when I was younger, and it is a rather vague reference. I do not remember if this detail plays a part in the story later on. Anyone have some ideas about it?

    posted 2 years ago. ( permalink )
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