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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES
When Jim reaches Miss Foley’s house, he calls out softly to Robert. Will hides behind a bush, watching quietly. He wonders if Robert has brought Miss Foley home safely or left her to the lightning rod salesman’s fate. Jim continues to call out softly. He seems to have the same sensation he gets when he looks at the theater. Will watches Robert’s shadow move through the house. Finally he can stand it no longer. He jumps out and tackles Jim. Jim tells Will to go home, for fear he’ll spoil everything. Jim believes Robert won’t come out if Will is around. Will asks Jim if what he saw in the mirror maze is motivating him. Jim says if Will doesn’t leave, he’ll remember the offense when he’s older. In anger, Jim spits at Will to make him go away. Will woundedly jumps back, wiping spit off his face.
Suddenly he gets a vision of Jim on the carousel trying to go forward, aging quickly. Will hauls off and punches Jim. The boys wrestle and grunt. The front door opens. Robert stands on the porch searching for Jim. Will holds his hand over Jim’s mouth to keep him quiet. Robert walks around the yard and finally spots the two boys. Robert runs upstairs, and while the boys wrestle, they hear a slight tinkling sound on the lawn. Robert leans over the porch rail again and continues to throw jewelry at them. Then he yells for the police. The boys are both so shocked that they let go of each other. Robert kicks a trash can over and a bedroom light comes on upstairs. He yells for the police one final time before running down the street. Miss Foley opens the window and calls out to Jim and Will. They, though, don’t stay to listen. They run to follow Robert.
As he runs away, Will hears Miss Foley scream, signaling that she has discovered the burglary. Will knows he’s playing into the conspiracy Robert set up. He thinks he should turn back and tell Miss Foley what happened. He, however, keeps running in hopes of saving Jim. Will acknowledges this as a turning point. He believes no one will trust them on any matter from here on. He compares himself to a rabbit running in fear following a black otter and a tomcat.
Will hides at the beginning of the chapter because he knows the events taking place have sinister overtones. When Jim calls out to Robert, Will is quite frightened. He knows Robert can seriously hurt Jim. He’s scared for both of them. Jim compares his emotions to the sensations he feels at the theater. Jim is aroused by the prospect of getting the things he wants. When Will realizes Robert might actually discover Jim, he tackles him, attempting to protect him. When Jim spits on Will, Will finally knows a turning point has been reached. Jim has never been angry enough to do something so hostile. Will punches him in return. This is probably the first serious fight the boys have ever had. Will is filled with emotion. He knows the carnival is evil. He’d have preferred to stay away from the entire event. Jim, however, has continually involved Will in all of the terrible events. Will has sensed he must protect Jim. Will has no desire to be left alone. Yet, Jim has begun to leave him out of things. Will’s emotional turmoil is behind the punch he throws at Jim. The nephew’s scheme to get Will and Jim in trouble is representative of his wicked nature. As the boys run away, Will knows the entire situation is far more serious than he’d ever imagined.
The boys hit the carnival grounds at twenty miles an hour. Robert is in the lead, followed by Jim, followed by Will. Will thinks they’ve got him because Robert believed Will wouldn’t follow and get stuck in a mess with the police. Now Robert, according to Will, is afraid Jim and Will will attack him. Will, though, knows Jim isn’t running to catch the nephew; Jim is running to ride on the carousel. By the time Will reaches the midway, the carousel is going forward. Jim is standing ten feet from it. Robert calls out to Jim, beckoning him to come forward. Jim leans into it. Will tackles him, holding him on the ground. Robert, the nephew, is now one year older, bigger, meaner, and taller. Will jumps up and runs to the control box. The boys fight over the control box. Will continues to watch Robert circle around, getting bigger each time. He begs Jim to shut it off. He knows Robert will kill both of them.
The control box for the carousel goes awry, and sparks begin shooting out. The carousel speeds up. Jim and Will continue to fight. The evil nephew tries to get off the speeding carousel. He gets knocked down, and the carousel spins something like fifty times. Jim sobs and begs Will to get up and make the carousel run backward. A light flashes on in a tent, but no one comes out. Will hears the figure on the carousel moan. The shadow continues to attempt to get off the carousel. Finally the switch box spits again, and the carousel slows to a stop. Will thinks it has gone around at least ninety times. The carnival lights blink out, and Will and Jim go to investigate the carousel. A hand hangs off the side. It is not the hand of a young boy. The man’s hair is long and white. The face and body seem mummified. Will touches him, and his hand is cold, but he’s alive and speeding toward death. Will pukes over the side of the carousel. Jim and Will run in fear together.
The carousel event drives Jim and Will together again, even after their terrible separation. The beginning of the chapter however, shows the sheer temptation Jim faces. Will tries to protect Jim from that temptation. When Robert reaches out to Jim, he thinks he will come aboard. He is surprised when Will is strong enough to hold Jim back. Will knows Robert/Cooger/the evil nephew will kill them once he is big enough, so he is desperate to get them out. The explosion of the control box is not what Will had in mind, but it does keep the two of them safe. Will, however, regrets the occurrence when he sees what happens to the thing on the carousel.