American Gothic Tales - Bruce McAllister, Joyce Carol Oates

I think that I need one day a week to talk, briefly, about the shorts I have been reading during the week.  So, in the spirit of that - I will introduce a new segment known as Saturday Short Story Round-Up! 



Wieland, or The Transformation (Chapter 19) - Charles Brockden Brown




I raised my hand and regarded her w/ steadfast looks. I muttered something about death, and the injunctions of my duty.  At those words she shrank back, and looked at me w/ a new expression and anguish.

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Shit, man.  Shit.  this story is an eerie, disturbing piece of nightmare fuel - POV of a guy believing that his fate in Heaven is at stake, and the only answer to getting that coveted position back is by obeying an angel of God's commands - no matter how shocking they may be.   It's a bit girthier than it needs to be during the build-up, but, fuck it, it was the 18th century, whaddayagonnado.


The Legend of Sleepy Hollow - Washington Irving


A story as fundamentally misunderstood by today's audience (those who haven't read the story) as Frankenstein is, this is a bit of a local ghost story mixed up in a bit of a luxurious travelogue of the area of what is generally known as Sleepy Hollow.  Pay attention to my mention of the term "travelogue" - this is pretty slowly paced, up until the end part, which everyone GENERALLY gets right, but not the end of it.  Ichabod is a loveable ass who generally means well, and it is his penchant for aiming a bit too high up the social ladder and for his obsession with "goblin tales" that does him in.  Everyone should read this - and, hey, I babbled on about reading this while I was having my job interview, so the fact that I now have the job might be connected to this story in some fashion, so, this story rocks.


The Man of Adamant: An Apalogue" - Nathaniel Hawthorne



There was something so frightful in the aspect of this Man of Adamant, that the farmer, the moment that he recovered from the fascination of his first gaze, began to heap stones into the mouth of the cavern

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Another religious tale of precaution, after we already went through with the cleanser of Sleepy Hollow.  Let me get this out of the way - Hawthorne IS an important figure in American literature, and doubly so for the gothic subgrenre, but come the fuck on - did he REALLY need two of his stories in this collection, especially when "Young Goodman Brown" would have sufficed, as an awesome example of his writing (and one that is infinitely better than "The Man of Adamant") - I think that another person's story could have fit in this collection, better than this story.  But I digress.   I was pretty unimpressed with this story, but the theme of mental illness directly causing a man to believe himself to be worthier than others is eerie - along with his physical transformation.