Summary and Analysis Part I: Chapter 4


The first mention of anything associated with the carnival comes from old Mr. Crosetti, the barber, who smells the odor of cotton candy as he closes up his shop for the night. The aroma causes him to cry, recalling a time when, as a lad, he used to enjoy the sticky sweetness of cotton candy himself. We sense that Mr. Crosetti, for years, has not stopped to do such things in life as thinking and smelling and enjoying. This knowledge coming so late in life, indeed, makes him weep.

Bradbury uses the barber here to embody one of the major problems of humanity, according to Bradbury; that is, our inability not only to accept life as it exists, but also to find pleasure in it. Mr. Crosetti's realization that he has allowed a great deal of the good things in life go by unnoticed will prove to be a point of vulnerability, a weakness in him when the carnival finally sets up its tents.