Buchbesprechung: „Something evil is coming“, by Ray Bradbury (2023)

Buchbesprechung: „Something evil is coming“, by Ray Bradbury (1)

I am writing this article at the behest of my sixth grade daughter who recently finished readingsomething bad comes that wayby Ray Bradbury. He asked me to review the book in the light of the Catholic faith.

pricking my thumbs,

Something bad is coming here."

- Shakespeare

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I'll admit that I didn't read this particular Bradbury book until my daughter picked it up, but I watched the film adaptation countless times as a kid. It has always held such a deep fascination for me. Bradbury is rarely mentionedsomething bad comes that wayis a must for everyone, young adults or not. While not Catholic, Bradbury appeals to our innate human sense of right and wrong, the nature of temptation, and the spiritual struggle in the human heart. The story is rich in moving symbolism, terrifying but not too scary, hopeful but cautious. There is no paragraph, conversation, character, situation, or place in this story that is arbitrary. They are all cleverly woven together, some overt and some covert, resulting in a story that delights readers with its depth and wit. Its greatest achievement, I think, is that it's told in a way that gets the message across to a young audience, so that they can begin to understand the mechanics of evil and build their defenses at an early age. earlier. rather later in life.


Right from the start we know that the story will be rich in symbolism by introducing the two main characters: two carefree boys, best friends living in a small town. The boy we care about is Jim Nightshade, who has a decidedly symbolic name. He's good at heart, but he finds himself on the edge of darkness, seduced by her and feeling there's no reason not to embrace her. Jim's opposite is Will Halloway, the good will who walks a sacred path and whose name is also clearly symbolic. One is drawn to temptation while the other is forced to stare at temptation and resist the urge to give in to save his friend. We are not dealing with a "bad" boy who is tempted and a "good" boy who protects himself from all evil. Instead, we are dealing with two normal children, both of whom do not avoid seeing evil but react to it differently. The difference between the two boys is further highlighted by the lightning rod symbol and her interaction with it throughout the story. The children are in stark contrast to their parents (except for Will's father), who are willing to stay away from anything sinful, even avoid looking at it, and are therefore unable to help the children when evil arises , since they are others. It is proof that we should not be afraid to face evil, but remain strong enough to walk with him without yielding, looking him in the eye and helping those who are in caught in his traps.

Our antagonist is Mr. Dark and his collection of "freaks". Again, his name is symbolic, and later in the story we discover that the state of each of the "deviations" also contains symbolism. We find that Mr. Dark is unable to coerce or control anyone in the story (except for the "freaks" who have already given in to him) but simply creates temptations for the characters to create their own downfall. The traps are set, but the characters step into them willingly. None of the "freaks" are willing to intervene for them. Only Jim has a chance to save himself, because his fellow man recognizes the danger and acts on his behalf against evil. Many are lost in this world because good men do not intervene. If we don't help our neighbors and claim souls for good, evil is at the door to claim those souls.

Interestingly, Mr. Dark first appears in the story singing "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" and in particular sings a line about how good will triumph over evil. It is revealed later in the book that Mr. Dark knows the Scriptures very well, as at the same time he throws the Bible in a trash can. These two incidents reveal to us the idea that evil often speaks truthfully of God, but mockingly. Evil knows it has no power over good and simply discards it and carries on in ill will.

Bradbury's decision to use young men as the main characters is also interesting. They are not old enough or influenced by the world enough to be blind to the reality of good and evil, visible and invisible. Your senses are still innocent enough to discern the unseen forces affecting the people of the world. They are about to become men and must establish their position in the world as either a force for good or a puppet for evil. While being good means freedom, immense misery and suffering, giving in to evil means losing control and surrendering one's will to some kind of puppet. It involves a much worse kind of suffering.

The message

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The main theme of the book seems to be that we must recognize that evil does exist as an invisible force in the world, materialized through the use of humans as its puppets. The gentleman. Dark is not the devil per se, but he is a man so consumed by evil and power that he has become the embodiment of evil. Bradbury aptly inserts an interesting dialogue towards the end of the book in which our heroes face a final inner temptation to seize the power held by Mr. Dark and shows us that human nature is never far from the temptations that can consume our souls. no matter how good we are

In another interesting line of dialogue, Will's father asks, "...since when do you think being good means being happy?"


This is also an important underlying theme of the book. At no point should we think that the suffering of the heroes is less than the suffering of the "freaks", the only difference being that the suffering of the "freaks" is total slavery while the suffering of the heroes is persecution. a higher good. This is also related to some of the characters that mostly act in the background of the story. There is the general population, like the police, who seem to totally reject the idea of ​​evil and are therefore blind to its influence on their lives, rendering them unable to help those around them. There are also mothers who attend church and isolate themselves in a bubble of holiness to avoid being touched or tempted by sin, which also renders them useless to save their children as they are unwilling to face it to confront evil. Even the father, at a critical moment, chooses to close his eyes to the evil that attacks him and his children, and is then victorious when he opens his eyes to face it and invoke the name of God.

The message seems to be that we must be able to walk where the darkness lies, stand in the light of our own sacred activities, and rescue our fellow human beings from the clutches of evil, both visible and invisible. Turning a blind eye to the struggles of our fellow human beings only creates a void of good, a void that evil is ready to fill. But to achieve this, we must have our own foundation in goodness, benevolence, and a sacred path, as does Will Halloway, who can guide and protect us from the devil's wiles and wiles as we walk through his dark valley. . Can you sit among your gossip friends and not gossip? Can you go to a party with alcohol and avoid getting drunk? Can you book yourself for the wedding if your friends are going out? Can you stand up for your parents and not put them down? Can one be proud to be a Christian among unbelievers? Can you advocate your own values ​​and beliefs among those who disagree? Can you be yourself and stand firm, be a light in the dark? Can you escape your safety and light bubble to take the light with you and go into every situation instead of dodging it? What is the merit of staying among good people? Does that feel good? Isn't good achieved by thwarting evil and saving others?

It is not easy and much suffering is expected in this quest. Bradbury describes the effect of temptation like this: “That amusement park, boys, they know how to punish you so you can't fight back. They just shake you up and change you so that no one ever meets you again and lets you loose.

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The carnival comes to town, looking cheerful and welcoming, blowing the trumpet loudly, dominating the senses and making no attempt to hide, in turn completely consuming souls and spitting out empty shells, slaves to evil. This is the ultimate goal of giving in to temptation. And how did our heroes successfully drive this evil out of the city? I leave it to you to find out. It is in the most perfect and highly effective way. Once confronted with this evil, the reader must realize that he has not been defeated, but temporarily banished. He will come back. This is our human struggle.

final thoughts

I encourage you to read Ray Bradbury's booksomething bad comes that way. I also hope that many young adults will read this book. It is a hidden gem among Bradbury's works that will create a dialogue about evil, its nature, its tactics and our role in fighting evil in our own lives and on behalf of those around us. The more you read it, the more you'll appreciate its symbolism, nuance, and craftsmanship.

Copyright 2022 Jessica Tucker


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Ray Bradbury,something bad comes that way, (Londres: Fantasy Masterworks, 2015), S. 184.


ibid., P. 161.

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