Thursday, October 26, 2006

Something Wicked Is a Great Achievement

Welcome back, my little fiends …

We continue our Halloween peek at Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes, which not only is deliciously fun and powerfully emotional, it also looks great sitting on a bookshelf right next to Agatha Christie’s book By the Pricking of My Thumbs.

This image is the “original” cover art for the hardback.

One great facet of this great book is Bradbury’s depiction of the relationship between Will Halloway and his father Charles Halloway, library janitor and knight in arthritic armor. Will and his dad love each other, but don’t express it much. Will’s failing is the typical youth’s self-centered outlook that “nobody ‘old’ can understand the turmoils of my life.” Dad’s failing is that his melancholy temperament inhibits his remembering the joy of living, and sharing that wonder with his son.

The conflict they (and Jim Nightshade) must face will force them to pull together, reexamine themselves and each other, and ultimately break down the wall of reserve between father and son.

A personal note … like Will and Charles Halloway’s relationship, my growing-up wasn’t filled with warm, happy times with my father – huh, my dad’s name is Charles, too! That is, I was loved as a child, but my dad’s main expression of love was going to work every day, and taking a second job in the evenings to pay the bills. Of course, he threw balls and Frisbees with me, and I sat on his lap eating popcorn Sunday nights and watching Bonanza.

But although I was (and still is) the emotional show-off type, Dad was more reserved. It wasn’t until about college time for me that he began to show on the outside the love he had always held on the inside.

The first time I read Something Wicked was in the Spring of my Senior year in high school. Soon afterwards, I asked Dad into my bedroom to listen to Harry Chapin’s song “Cats in the Cradle.” As I turned the record off at the end of the song, I sensed that Dad was wondering why I wanted him to hear it. But I gave him a hug and said, “I just wanted to thank you for NOT being a dad like that!”
More meanderings tomorrow, my little graveyard rats, along with Bradbury’s OWN recounting of the inspiration of Something Wicked This Way Comes !

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