Remember when I said I wouldn’t read Clive Barker again? Well, I lied a little. I did read The Yattering and Jack which is in my copy of Book of Blood. Compared to Rawhead Rex, this story was actually a really fun read overall. Although, I wouldn’t say this one felt like a monster short story compared to the others.
As discussed in our class, demons tap dance around the line of monster and ghost. Despite this, we get to cover this specific demon possession and the humor found within it. Now would everyone find humor in this short story? I’m not sure. I have a dark sense of humor.
When the wife was caught cheating on her husband, he didn’t react negatively at all. However, she went mad because of it which led to her untimely demise. If anything, the poor cats who suffered because of the Yattering were what made me feel sick to my stomach. I had to cuddle my cat a few times after reading about each one dying. Perhaps it’s just the way I look at life that made me more affected by them.
So, why is it that I can say this short story flips the script when it comes to demons? The fact that it’s not the Yattering attempting to purchase Jack’s soul is one such case. Instead, he is forcing himself to make Jack go mad just like his wife and force him to do something evil. Instead, it’s a fight between a man who just doesn’t seem to care and a demon that cares too much.
We don’t actually get to go into Jack’s mind at all throughout the story. Instead, we’re placed in the Yattering’s mind. We get to empathize with him in some fashion, and in the end, feel bad for his circumstances. We also get to cheer on Jack who, despite us believing him useless, and actually see him slowly grow into his plan and enslave the Yattering for everything that has happened.
Now, could I ever do something like Jack? I don’t think so. I have almost 0 self-control with my emotions. I would have fallen prey a long time ago. So I would never say Jack was a weak character. He managed to hold his composure every day. Whether he was blowing up outside the house I have no idea and neither does the demon. All we ever see is Jack inside the house just sighing and continuing on with life as if the demon didn’t exist.
The humor is what really drives this home into more of how The Funeral played out where it is obviously meant to be a horror story with monsters and a character in peril. However, we’re left more with another humorous story using dark humor and making us yearn to see all of the Yatterings Hyjinx explode in his face.