Friday, October 30, 2015

Something Wicked This Way Comes ... But Fun, Yes It's Fun!

 Last week I performed my yearly roller-coaster ride with Ray Bradbury and memories of my heroic Dad.  For this blog post I'm going to assume you are familiar with the novel.  If not, for Heaven's sake, why not?  Please dive into its poetry and fright!

This was my twenty-fifth reading of Something Wicked This Way Comes.  I've got two paperback editions.  One is a 1998 printing which has some typos.  The other is the first paperback printing of 1963.  Its cover is above.

Don't you love the allegorical imagery of this cover?  A semi-rural boy (complete with turned-up jeans and farm boots) stands at a maze entrance.  The maze stands for his future life, and all will be determined by his choices.  The boy is looking at the fire-eating guy on the left panel.

This fellow seems a reference to I Corinthians 11:29.  In the passage Paul talks about people sharing in a Communion Meal (a celebration of unity with each other and God) while still consciously harboring bad feelings and resentment toward somebody else.  These are sneaky hypocritical people, glad-handing you but dishing dirt as soon as you're out of earshot.  It's folks who act like that, Paul warns, who are digging themselves in deeper.  "For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself ..."

On the left-hand panel, that's what this guy looks like, doesn't it?

The card player on the right doesn't look much happier.  He thought it would be fun to risk it all, but by the way he gazes out over his cards, it looks like he's holding a skunk hand.  He has just realized that he's going to lose it all, due to his own recklessness.

Between these two choices is X, the Stranger.  Does he stand for Mr Dark, the proprietor of the Dark Carnival whose maze invites the boy?  Does he stand for the unnatural, early-grown thing that the boy might become if stretched on the devilish merry-go-round?  Or is he, simply, Death -- the natural end of those who deliberately choose to bypass  the natural progressions of life by seeking to become its master?

In front of the cards-playing man, there's a bit of paper in the air.  It's one of the handbills for the show!

 The back of this paperback edition features one version of this handbill.  You know, the one pasted all over town by Mr Dark in the beginning movements of the novel.

Just for fun, I tried to make a copy of the poster.  This is what I came up with.

This wonderful novel makes plain the very basic cliche that while life and the future are an unwritten book filled with danger and scares, facing it with good humor and friendship will allow you to hang on and come through.

See you tomorrow on Halloween.

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