Thursday, September 26, 2013
Lisa Tuttle’s “Replacement”
Blog #3, Option 5
Lisa Tuttle’s short story, “Replacement,” definitely freaked out a little due to the fact that unknown creatures, that are apparently very ugly, suddenly appears and that they manage to dissolve relationships between men and women so quickly. The short story does contain at least two gothic tropes, which are The Supernatural and The Outsider. The Supernatural in this story is directed at the fact that an unknown creature that looks like someone smashed a cat, a human infant, and a wingless bat together, would appear out of nowhere and without explanation. Another reason why this creature could be considered something supernatural is because a day after Stuart’s wife, Jenny, found one of these hideous creatures; Stuart “walked in on his wife feeding the creature with her blood,” as if the creature was a very ugly vampire (Lisa Tuttle, 471). The reason why I believe that this story contains The Outsider gothic trope is because after Jenny brings one of these freaky unknown creatures to the house and shows it to Stuart, Stuart quickly becomes a stranger in his own house and is pushed aside by his wife for this hideous infant-like thing.
The story was suspenseful to me because I did not know whether or not this creature was real, until Stuart saw the bloody thing sucking Jenny’s blood almost like a baby being breastfed by its mother. I did not know how the story would end and I wanted to find what the heck this parasitic thing was that the women in the story seemed to be overly obsessed with this creature to the point where the creature becomes their sole purpose in living. I also wondered whether or not Stuart was going to kill the creature in the house or if Jenny would become so annoyed with Stuart that she would kill Stuart. I give this story a four out of five because even though the first few pages are a bit slow in terms of the plot, the story as a whole is very disturbing yet interesting and suspenseful to the point where you have to read the entire story to the end to find out more about this thing that appears from out of nowhere. I would recommend this story to a friend for the reasons stated above as well as for the story raising questions on motherhood and the power of women. Jenny mentions that the weird creature was like Psammead, the ugly and mischievous fairy from “The Five Children and It,” which is a children’s book (Lisa Tuttle, 464). I found this interesting because it almost sounds like Jenny considers this ugly creature as a human baby and then proceeds, rather quickly in fact, to smother it with a strange sense of motherly love. That and the fact the thing follows Jenny everywhere like a little kid starving for attention.
Tuttle, Lisa. “Replacements.” American Gothic Tales. Ed. Joyce Carol Oates. New York: The Penguin Group. 460-474. Print.
BBC, “Five Children and It,” photograph, Wikipedia, accessed September 26, 2013.