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Will drives the story. He appears as a highly typical boy-next-door type of thirteen-year-old. He is continually referred to as good. It is his overall goodness, though, and his discovery of that, that allows him to save himself and Jim. He, more than Jim, creates the loss of innocence in the novel, as Jimís innocence seems lost from the start. He wants and needs a relationship with his father, Charles. That relationship, though, does not exist until the end of the text.
Jim is unhappy with his life from the start of the novel. He no longer has a father, and heís lost two siblings. Heís mildly angry, and heís in search of the elusive something better. Heís hungry for excitement and adventure on a constant basis. He starts the lack of contentment in life theme, and deals with it until the final scene of the book. He also brings most of the trouble the boys find themselves in.
Charles tries to be a good man, but heís usually so busy thinking about it that he has little time for doing it. He wants to be part of Willís life, but he feels unable to communicate with him because of the vast age difference. Only at the end of the novel does Charles realize that the only thing that matters is happiness. The discovery of how to destroy the carnival is, though, to his credit.
Darkís sinister nature both draws people in and pushes them away. It is impossible to tell his age, as with the carousel, age is not a factor for him. It is clear, though, that he enjoys pain in all forms. He physically tattoos his body on a regular basis. He puts those who are not content with their lives through mental anguish and holds them prisoner. His name is reflective of his character.