Tuesday, September 17, 2013
The Lonesome Place
This news story by Samantha Henry talks about a recent fire that broke out on the New Jersey coastline. The fire is believed to be a result of Superstorm Sandy that plagued the Atlantic coast nearly a year ago. The storm caused damage to much of the wiring that lines the pier and boardwalk back on October 29. Last week, several of the damaged wires came into contact, which eventually led to a fire that caused nearly $15 Million in damages.
This ties in to two common motifs in Gothic literature: the uncanny and weather. These motifs are very common to readings for this class, but the first story I thought of was “The Lonesome Place” by August Derleth, which hinged on the same main themes. Both “places”, the grain elevator and the boardwalk, appear to be calm ordinary places until there is a slight change in the weather. This seemingly small change in setting for the story causes a significant change in the attitude for both the characters of the story as well as the reader. As the author of the story explains, “You were never afraid of it by day, but by night it was a different place; for then it was lonesome, away from sight and sound, a place of darkness and strangeness, a place of terror” (Derleth). Human thinking places much importance on these background elements. We associate these types of dark things with negative experiences; after all there are no children that are afraid of the light.
Lastly, the theme of the uncanny causes a similar skin-crawling emotion in most readers. The example of this is shown through the yahoo news story, “those wires had been exposed to the storm surge and the grating sand action of the storm, which compromised them. But as far as why the wires contacted each other, he said, ‘we will never know’” (Henry). This quote, in my opinion, does an awesome job of conveying the uncanny motif. Even when we, the reader, have the details we still don’t really know the whole story. I think this is a perfect representation of gothic style writing in everyday news reporting.