Summary and Analysis
Part I: Chapter 17
Jim and Will lose no time in exploring all the other attractions offered by the carnival. At one point, Jim trips over a dark leather bag that someone has left in the midst of the midway. The boys recognize at once that the bag belongs to the lightening-rod salesman. Jim looks inside the bag and finds metal shafts clustered with Chinese dragons, chimeras, and many other signs and symbols that throughout history have made people believe that they are safe from evil. The boys now realize that instead of selling safety devices to people, the lightning-rod salesman has actually been robbing people of them.
The implication which Bradbury makes here is that people often think that they are more susceptible to temptation when deprived of those things which give them a feeling of safety. Increasingly obvious is the fact that temptation is the major item for sale at this carnival.