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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

My Lonesome Place: Then and Now

Catherine Rivera
English Blog #2

            In August Derleth’s, “The Lonesome Place” the main character explains his fear of a certain place.  Many children are afraid of dark and lonely places, but these boys take their fears to the extreme when they imagine the monster that lives in “the lonesome place.”  The narrator describes the lonesome place as a boy: “the lonesome place where you were sure that something haunted the darkness waiting for the moment and the hour and the night you came through to burst forth from its secret place and leap upon you . . .” (Derleth 193).  He was absolutely sure that something in the lonesome place would attack him.  I understand the narrator’s feeling of dread because as a child I was also scared of a lonesome place.
            I clearly remember being terrified by the bushes in front of my daycare.  I must have only been three years old, but I vividly remember thinking that there was a monster living in front of my daycare.  I was sure that if I got close to those bushes I would get eaten.  I went to daycare at a woman’s house with a lot of other little kids and we would all tell each other stories about the monster living in the front yard under the bushes.  Just like in Derleth’s story our monster grew out of our collective imaginations.  The narrator says, “it grew like this, out of our mutual experiences.  We discovered that it had scales, and a great long tail, like a dragon” (Derleth 194).  The monster that the children at my daycare created looked more like a tiger than a dragon.  It had large paws with claws capable of ripping flesh.  This tiger monster had large yellow eyes that stared at us as we walked to daycare every morning.  There were older children too, and they loved telling us little children about the monster.  Every time they told the story, the monster got bigger and scarier. 
            We did not have “proof” of our monster the way the boys in the story did, but we believed in it anyway.  The narrator says that they were certain that there was a monster in the lonesome place because “there would be a pile of lumber tipped over, and we would look to where something had been lying down . . .” (Derleth 195).  If the children at my daycare had “proof” that a monster lived in the bushes, I doubt we would have ever slept at naptime.  In the end our monster never killed anyone the way the boys’ monster did and that was probably because our monster lived right in front of the house.  The boys’ lonesome place was much more treacherous because it was dark and hidden from view. 
            As an adult my definition of a monster has changed, but the places where the monsters lay waiting are still the same.  Monsters still lurk in dark and hidden places.  My monsters have transformed into wicked people waiting for unsuspecting victims to cross into dark alleys.  

Derleth, August. “The Lonesome Place.” American Gothic Tales. Ed. Joyce Carol Oates. New York: Plume, 1996. 191-98. Print.

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