Sunday, January 2, 2011
The Dreams in the Witch House
H.P. Lovecraft (1890-1937)
One of the shortest of the classics, you can find Witch House here. We meet poor Walter Gilman after he's already made a fatal mistake. A math major in college, he becomes obsessed with the tales of a witch who was executed 300 years ago in his town. This witch, Keziah Mason, bragged to the court that she had discovered a fourth dimension. Gilman decided, or was drawn, to move into Keziah's former garret room which was still extant.
The small room is plagued by rats and has two small enclosures that have long been inaccessible. Lovecraft guides us between Gilman's distressing days and his mindblowingly abstract and horrible dreams. Within the dreams Gilman alternates between seeing horrible apparitions of an old crone, a small human-like rat named Brown Jenkins, and a giant Black Man and some really trippy scenes where he is transcending time and space surrounded by space and odd shaped entities.
I don't want to give away the story save to say Gilman is pulled farther and farther into the insanity of the dreams until they cross over into his awake life. I do want to comment on the dreams. Lovecraft's dreamworld reads more like an analyzation of an LSD trip from the 60s. The division between the real and the dream world becomes smaller and smaller until they finally merge. Some creepy, mindbending stuff.
Rating 7/10: A lot packed into a short story. Need to get through more Lovecraft stories in this series before giving it a final rating.