"In the middle of the town, a community-conscious landowner had opened up a vacant lot and permitted a travelling troupe of enterprising migrants to set up their carnival with rides, booths and portapotties. The rides were best viewed in the dark, an escapade of gaily lit rust, powered by unmuffled tractor engines that competed with the wavering carnival music which squeaked loudly from somewhere in the middle of it all. But on this warm summer night the roaming, cotton-candied masses were out to enjoy, enjoy, enjoy. A ferris wheel slowly turned, hesitated for boarding, turned some more for unboarding, then took a few full rotations to give its passengers their money's worth; a merry-go-round spun in a brightly lit, gaudy circle, the peeling and dismembered horses still prancing to the melody of the canned calliope; carnival; goers threw basketballs at hoops, dimes at ashtrays, darts at balloons and money to the wind along the hastily assembled, ramshackle midway where the hawkers ranted the same try-yer-luck chatter for each passerby." (This Present Darkness, page 9)
1. This passage describes a cheap carnival of wild partying to an abundant degree. It effectively paints a picture in your mind of the chaotic scene.
2. There is a lot of visual imagery in this passage, describing the various sights of the night carnival.
3. "A merry-go-round spun in a brightly lit, gaudy circle, the peeling and dismembered horses still prancing to the melody of the canned calliope." I think that this passage is effective because it is full of imagery to give a clear image of the carnival, using both visual and auditory imagery to describe the gaudiness and overall sketchiness of the scene. It clearly creates a picture of a low budget, ill-maintained ride.
4. I think this passage creates an imagery of mindless partying and recklessness, which certainly gives a negative vibe. Due to words such as "gaudy", "peeling", "squeaked", and "best viewed in the dark" tell us that the carnival itself is functional, yet not in great repair. Moreover, words like "cotton-candied masses" and "ramshackle", which are directed at the crowd indicate that this is a less than sophisticated gathering, once again, a negative feel.
5. The mood created here is a dark, mindless party where patrons go for cheap entertainment, likely also void of the law. The great, surging mass of people is plainly driven by the will to enjoy themselves however the participants desire.
6. The purpose of this paragraph is to set the scene with a certain darkness, absent of all good and just actions, effectively exposing the crowd as a lawless mass seeking cheap pleasure. It sets up the scene for the entrance of two characters, angels who pass by, overlooking the scene.