Summary and Analysis Part III: Chapters 47-48


Using the hand that was not maimed by Mr. Dark, Mr. Halloway catches the rifle that Mr. Dark tosses to him. He then calls out that he needs a boy to help him hold the gun. He says his son Will is somewhere in the Carnival and that he will volunteer. Mr. Halloway calls to his son but gets no reply. The crowd takes up the call, too, until Will, in a trance-like state, appears at the entrance to the Mirror Maze and takes his place at the side of his father.

As instructed by Mr. Dark, Mr. Halloway marks the bullet he intends to fire at the Dust Witch. Using what he terms "secret discoveries of the heart and soul," he carves a crescent-shaped smile into the bullet's shaft. Then he loads his rifle.

Mr. Halloway utilizes Will's shoulder as a brace, and he prepares to fire his gun. The Dust Witch's face blanches from fear when she is shown the large, toothy smile that Will's father commands him to make. Silently, with his lips, Mr. Halloway informs the Witch that he has carved his own smile on the bullet in his gun. With this revelation still fresh in the heart and mind of the Witch, Mr. Halloway fires his rifle. The Dust Witch screams and falls from the platform and into the dust, where she dies. Once again, his smile has given Mr. Halloway victory.

Now that the Dust Witch has been destroyed, the Halloways must rescue Jim from the wax museum. The Mirror Maze proves to be the only means of access to Jim, and, despite his son's pleas to the contrary, Mr. Halloway makes his way into its depths, into the "gauntlet of horror" that he knows awaits him. Once inside the Maze, the mirrors do Mr. Halloway no favors. Instead of showing him a fantasy of youth, allowing him to view himself as the youthful husband and father he has always wanted to be, they further play upon his weakness by reflecting image after image of him as an aging man. These images in glass cut into his vanity and bring him to his knees. Mr. Halloway sees himself "one week, one month, two years, twenty, seventy years from now!" Will, too, sees the mirrors, and when all the lights go out, both son and father are stilled by the fearful silence.