I am going to preface this blog to say that although this is another case of never reading the works, it’s also one that I probably would have never picked up on my own either. Not because of a lack of interest, but because I’m not a fan of Lovecraft as a person. There is a lot to be said about him and many problematic view not just from comparing him to today’s standards but also by the standard of the time he was around. For those curious, just look up what he named his cat. I’ll wait for you to come back.
Out of the multiple short stories we did read by him, the one that stuck out the most for me, was his short story The Outsider. It wasn’t nearly as purple prose and long winded as his other pieces. In fact, it was probably the easiest of them for me to digest while still being a difficult read. What should have taken me only a few minutes took me almost an hour to geth through because my ADHD brain needed to reread multiple paragraphs to understand what was going on. That would be my biggest issue with Call of Cthulhu which we also had to read. I gave up after spending 10 minutes on a single page trying to fully grasp everything while there was chaos in the house. Perhaps another time when I have peace I can try and decispher it.
One of the biggest things about Lovecraft is his use of language. It’s very ethereal. Not much is fully tangible in his prose, but at the same time its very tangible in our imagination. It gives that freedom for us to experience everything from the tall trees, to seeing just how hideous the “mystery monster” really is.
“…it was a compound of all that is unclean, uncanny, unwelcome, abnormal, and detestable. It was the ghoulish shade of decay, antiquity, and dissolution; the putrid, dripping eidolon of unwholesome revelation, the awful baring of that which the merciful earth should always hide.”
This doesn’t exactly draw a clear picture, but then again this was a creture that lived in almost complete darkness, so we wouldn’t expect him to have a firm grasp on what he was seeing. However, it was very welcoming and understood when we look back at the other descriptions such as the trees and even his home.
I honestly was just as confused as the main character was when I saw the adventurers flee when he walked in on them. I genuinely thought that he was about to get hurt by them. Instead at the very end he is greeted by the creature and he reaches out to it. We stop there and think for a moment the monster got him, only at the very end for him to admit it was a mirror. We never got to see what he looked like and he even mentions at the beginning of the story that he doesn’t know and pictures himself like the paintings that surround him with youth in them. It ended beautifully in that regard of him learning who and what he is.
As I mentioned before, would I willingly pick up Lovecraft after this? Probably only to geth through The Call of Cthulhu out of spite. But beyond that, I will probably still avoid his works.