Thursday, November 14, 2013
A Gripping Story
August Derleth opens his story describing the level of fright experienced by the main characters in the story as a fright only capable of being experienced when alone. While reading these first few sentences I tried thinking of a time I was alone and scared. We all know that being alone can make things far scarier than they would be with company. When we’re home alone at night for example, we may hear things that would otherwise go unheard. By describing form of fright in a way that everyone can relate to, I was easily able to relate to the fright Johnny and the narrator must’ve felt.
The story is sure to fall into the category of gothic literature as several gothic tropes are used including: sense of mystery and dread, unreliable narrator, weather, uncanny, and supernatural. Right off the bat, the sense of mystery and dread trope is present as it excites the reader’s fear by leading us to be able to relate to the level of fear described. The narrator goes on to state, “We were young, we were little boys in a small town” (Derleth 191). So we can assume the story contains an unreliable narrator since kids are known to have wild imaginations. But the way the narrator describes the scary creature, “The hard breathing which was my own became Its breathing in Its frenetic struggle to reach me, to rend and tear me, to imbue my soul with terror” (Derleth 193), makes the scary more suspenseful and left me wondering whether the creature would ever attack. With quotes like this, I was left at the edge of my seat throughout the story truly wondering whether the identity and end result of the creature would ever be revealed.
“The Lonesome Place” is sure to captivate an audience of any gender or any age as we can all relate to being young and having an imagination run wild. I would rate this story a five on a scale of one to five as it’s not only gripping but it is also a noteworthy piece of gothic literature since it uses so many gothic tropes.
Derleth, August. "The Lonesome Place." American Gothic Tales. Comp. Joyce Carol Oates. New York: Plume, 1996. 191-98. Print.