“Dad’s voice was a midnight school, teaching deep fathom hours, and the subject was life.” (Chapter 8, p. 28)
Will Halloway sometimes hears his father speaking at night through the wall, and he feels reassured that his father knows the truth of things, even if he does not understand what he says.
“Fool! I yell at Jim. Coward! He yells back.” (Chapter 12, p. 35)
Will reflects on the difference between himself and his friend. He thinks Jim needs to be more careful and cautious before running after things, and Jim thinks Will is holding back out of cowardice.
“Beyond lay fathoms of Mirror Maze which housed a multifold series of empty vanities one wave on another, still, serene, silvered with age, white with time . . . If a man stood here would he see himself unfolded away a billion times to eternity?” (Chapter 13, p. 40)
The Mirror Maze is one of the main horrors at the carnival. It fragments the images of the onlookers forward and backward in time so they lose themselves, horrified by seeing what time does to them. They come out lost, no longer whole.
“Oh, what strange wonderful clocks women are. They nest in Time. They make the flesh that holds fast and binds eternity.” (Chapter 14, p. 42)
Charles Halloway believes his wife does not suffer from time the way he does. She is part of its rhythm by bearing children.
“Boy’s face, sure, but the eyes were the eyes of Mr. Cooger!” (Chapter 19, p. 59)
Jim and Will watch Mr. Cooger, one of the circus owners, go backwards in time on the carousel until he becomes twelve. Then he goes to Miss Foley’s house pretending to be her nephew. The boys know she is in trouble.
“Having permission would spoil everything, I suppose? It’s sneaking out to the lake, the graveyard, the rail tracks, the peach orchards summer nights that counts . . . “ (Chapter 27, p. 95)
Mr. Halloway discovers the boys have secret ladders for climbing out their windows at night for adventures, but he understands why it is more fun if it is forbidden.
“Being good is a fearful occupation; men strain at it and sometimes break in two.” (Chapter 28, p. 98)
Will and Jim have gotten in trouble with the police by getting pulled into the carnival and its doings. Charles Halloway believes in his son’s innocence and tells him it can be a big responsibility to choose the right. It can feel like a strain against the current.
“’Oh, she’s lost,’ sobbed the little girl. ‘She ran off in that place and never came back. Will you find her, please, please . . .’” (Chapter 32, p.116)
Will and Jim see a little girl sobbing under a tree in the rain. Will recognizes that it is Miss Foley, his seventh-grade teacher, who went for a ride on the carousel backward in time.
“Could he say: we share this billion-mile-an-hour ride. We have common cause against the night?” (Chpt. 39, p.145)
Charles Halloway is trying to think how to tell the boys there is hope against evil. Love and kinship and human solidarity are powerful weapons against the dividing tactics of Mr. Dark.
“One of my friends, outside, can fix you so it seems you died of most natural heart failure.” (Chapter 41, p. 155)
Mr. Dark, the Illustrated Man, tries to frighten Mr. Halloway into telling him where the boys are. He refers to the Dust Witch outside the library who slows Charles’s heart almost to the point of death.
Something Wicked : Top Ten Quotes