An analysis of the horror short story on deaths door

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An analysis of the horror short story on deaths door

Megan Abbott I think for genre definitions, we really need look no further than Richard Thomas, a short-story-publishing beast, frequent instructor here at LitReactor and author of the ongoing nuts-and-bolts column Storyville also featured on this website. In an entry from a little over a year agoThomas tackles the label "literary fiction" or lit-fic by deconstructing Wikipedia's definition of the genre, which asserts that lit-fic must bear significant "literary merit.

What is literary merit? It should stand the test of time, it should have realistic and layered characters and complex emotions, and it should be concerned with the truth. Now, Thomas is not demonstrating genre snobbery by making this statement. If you've ever read his stuff and you should, because it's quite goodyou know this writer is no stranger to speculative or genre conventions.

He even acknowledges in the column that there are exceptions to the rule, namely William Gay's superb short story "The Paperhanger" and the works of Edgar Allan Poe.

But there does seem to be a critical divide between the "genre of fear" and what is typically acknowledged as literature, as evidenced by Stuart Kelly's Guardian Book Blog postin which he notes that while science fiction and fantasy writers like Iain M. As with most things, a little from column A and a little from column B applies here.

Snobbery indeed exists—take this supposed appreciation of genre literature from The New Yorker, which still manages to "other" and depreciate genre-fic in favor of lit-fic.

As a means of proving the stuck-ups wrong and showing would-be writers how it's done, I submit to you this chronological list of ten novels and short stories from authors typically embraced within lit-fic's arms that effectively utilize horror elements. Each title does so by dealing with dark subject matter, by featuring entities of a sinister and often supernatural nature, and by maintaining a sense of dread and terror; at the same time, these stories effectively meet the lit-fic criteria as established by Richard Thomas: It's widely considered to be a classic piece of literature by every professor I've encountered over the years, and it's also one of three novels that form the genesis of modern horror the other two being Bram Stoker's Dracula and Robert Louis Stevenson's The Strange Case of Dr.

Hyde—see Stephen King's Danse Macabre for a broader discussion of this. Shelley poses a very basic question with her novel: But as the subtitle a literary allusion to Greek mythology suggests, the author offers even bigger queries woven into her text, namely the idea that creators of an awesome power must suffer for their genius.

Just as Prometheus, who deceived Zeus in creating mankind, must endure an eagle pecking out his liver every day for all eternity, Victor Frankenstein meets with the utter decimation of his life and loved ones as a direct result of defying "natural law" and playing with a fire he did not fully understand.

His sanity goes to the chopping block as well. Moreover, Shelley turns our notion of monsters and innate evil on its head, showing that even the most brutish of beings can evolve and experience love alongside hate.

His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of a pearly whiteness; but these luxuriances only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same colour as the dun-white sockets in which they were set, his shrivelled complexion and straight black lips.

And yes, this perhaps most identifiable work is not a straight piece of fiction, but rather a narrative poem. But I've selected "The Raven" for this column for several reasons, primarily because it offers us a window into the mind of a man, exploring his psychological and emotional landscape on a particularly haunting evening.

The poem is quintessential Poe—the narrator obsessing over the death of his love, here named Lenore, and the brooding madness that ensues, raising questions on the true nature of life-after-death—a construct of the bereaved, or something more palatable and thus, terrifying.

But perhaps the best reason to single out "The Raven" is due to the author's nuanced use of language specifically to unnerve his reader.

The repetition of the phrase "nothing more" and the words "evermore" and "nevermore" at the end of each stanza demonstrates Poe's rudimentary use of literary devices to jangle his reader—no matter what is said to this foreboding creature, "in the end everything dissolves into the oblivion of 'Nevermore,'" writes Thomas H.

Cook in the collection of Poe essays In the Shadow of the Master. But this mastery of language does not stop there. Poe employs both a straightforward ABCBBB rhyming scheme at the end of each line and an internal rhyming scheme in the first and third lines of each stanza, with the third line rhyme bleeding over into the fourth line as well see the example below.

The language and poetic devices work to cast a spell over the reader, to place us inside the groggy and ultimately terrified head of the narrator and absorb us into his tale. Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore— While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.

Eagerly I wished the morrow;—vainly I had sought to borrow From my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore— For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore— Nameless here for evermore. The book also features weird tales by literary darlings Robert Graves, Truman Capote, Ray Bradbury, William Trevor, and several other authors appearing in this column.

It's a great anthology, and serves as an excellent primer for horror with a literary twist. Concerning "The Demon Lover," Kessler states that "to characterize this story as either a supernatural tale, a suspense thriller, or a narrative of encroaching madness is to impoverish it.

It is, in fact, all three. Drover grappling with her war-torn past before the titular entity comes to steal her away. Through this psychological journey, Bowen touches on themes of regret, powerlessness, lost love, and the false idea of home as a safe haven indestructible to outside horrors—themes resulting from the aftermath of World War II, a time when, according to the author, everyone "lived in a state of lucid abnormality.

Drover believes the nightmare of war is over; she soon learns, however, it is only beginning As things were—dead or living the letter-writer sent her only a threat. Unable, for some minutes, to go on kneeling with her back exposed to the empty room, Mrs.Right on, the JCO story may not be traditional horror, but it did a fine job of giving me the creeps.

An analysis of the horror short story on deaths door

Thanks for the info on The Paperhanger and Blackmoon, two titles that are now on my to read list. Analysis of a short story of Stephen King By: Marcus Levis Analysis of a short story of Stephen King By: Marcus Levis by Stephan King.

Edit. Classic editor History Short Story ENG3U Kelly Wiki is a FANDOM Lifestyle Community. The Red Death is a scary story about a prince who hides in his castle while a terrible plague sweeps across the land.

It is based on a classic short story by Edgar Allan Poe called “The Masque of . They hastily left the room and he stayed up all night, shaking and wondering if it had been a next morning, there was a tap on the door.

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