Sunday, March 25, 2012

Gothic Lit Story

Have you seen the mask that stands alone in Cleminson hall? Most people take a look, but pass by it shuddering in fear of the strange mask. By doing this they are right, they should not stare too long at the mask because there lives a soul that cannot escape his misfortune.
  David Flucker almost graduated in one of the early years at Grosse Pointe South.  He was a joker amongst many things.  His last name was an unfortunate reminder of how he could be made fun at any second, take out the "l" and he is a dead man.  From a young age David knew he had to avoid this, so he would make a joke out of everything there was, even other students before they could make fun of him.  He particularly loved to pick on James Jones, one of the smartest kids in the class.  Every day there was something that Flucker could pick on him about.  Most of the students in the class that year were friends, everyone except whoever Flucker and his friends could pick on.  James had had enough of the nonsense that went on everyday.  He knew Flucker was going to try and set a prank the night before graduation.  He had been working on a mask that looked like a joker, perfect for his pal Flucker. It was painted beautiful simple white, with exaggerated eyebrows, and diamonds over the eye wholes.  The lips are a deep black with hints of red, and there are ribbons coming out of the ears in gold, white, and red.
James looked at the mask and added a special top coat of paint then he said the words "Trapped forever, Flucker will be the joker of enternity. Put on the mask and feel a cool draft. When the clock strikes 12, stuck in place, face erased, trapped forever."

The rest of the class was meeting at Clemeinson that night at promptly 11:30 pm to make there mark at Grosee Pointe South.  They decided to break everything in the hall from old vases to chandlers to the administrators’ most prized possessions.  They had been drinking there parents finest liquor and were up to no good when the arrived at the school.
When they got there Flucker saw James standing there with his beautifully crafted mask. 
"Cool mask James!" Everyone laughed as they always did.
“Thanks Flucker.” James whispered.
“Give me it!” Flucker shouted. 
Flucker seized it from James’s grasp and threw it at the ground with all his force, but to his surprise, it didn’t brake.  The mask was perfectly facing up without a chip, looking as if it was glaring.  He picked it up again and this time threw at James, but missed.  It fell to the ground again without a brake. 
“Why don’t you put it on Flucker?!” One of the classmates said.
“Yeah! Put it on David!” Another one yelled.
Flucker put on the mask and started mimicking James.  He was dancing around and pretending to be a nerd.  Everyone was encouraging him, but then the clock struck 12 and the room turned cooled.  Everyone stopped laughing and turned to Flucker who had stopped entertaining them.
“Now you will never be able to laugh at me again!”  James snickered.
Flucker went to snap something back at him, but his voice didn’t make a sound.  He tried to take off the mask , but it felt almost stuck. 
The students around him stood frozen, they knew something was wrong.  He tried to say something again but all that came out was a muffled voice.  Flucker ran to where James and tried to hit him, but his hand kept missing, his voice kept getting strained.  Flucker took his hands and attached them firmly to the mask and pulled as hard as he could, but nothing budged. 
He charged at James again, but ran into the wall.  No one moved they all were yelling at Flucker to stop, but he couldn’t hear them anymore.  He ran around the room twisting and turning, hoping for the mask to come loose.  The rest of the class didn’t know what else to do, some of them fled the hall, some of them tried to help get the mask off, but felt a sharp pain as soon as they touched the disguise. 
“You will never get it off Flucker.  You are stuck.  Stuck forever!” James yelped in delight.  “Soon you won’t be able to even breath.”
They all got turned to James as he ran out of the hall, cackling.  Flucker fell to the ground, gasping for air, even though no one could hear him struggling.  His body was contorting in every way, scrambling to restore himself to a normal position.  He finally lay flat and his body seemed to sink into the ground, and before he or anyone else could help him, his body vanished from the bitter room, never to be seen or heard again.  Now the mask is hung with the voice and mind of David Flucker trapped in the empty spaces of the mask, trying to get out, but trapped for eternity. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Edgar Allan Poe Obsession with Death

Franny Aliotta
Mr. Provenzano
1st hour
            Edgar Allan Poe is one of the most well known American authors throughout history.  His best works are recognized as disturbing, upsetting, and above all about death.  Poe’s obsession with death is portrayed through almost all of his works, especially, “The Fall of the House Of Usher”, “The Death of the Red Masque”, “The Pit and the Pendulum”, “Ligeia”, and “The Black Cat”.  His short stories convey the theme of death through symbolism, imagery, and diction. 
            One of Poe’s longest short stories, “The Fall of the House of Usher”, portrays the element of death very well.  He instantly sets a mood through his use of imagery.  “During the whole of dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens” (“The Fall of the House of Usher” Poe 1).   In the readers’ mind, Poe has created a rainy, cloudy day in fall with dark skies.  This is the ultimate setting for a death or dreary day of sadness.  Through the next paragraphs it is told that the owner of the Usher house has wrote to the narrator because “of a mental disorder which oppressed him” (Poe, 2).   Someone with a mental illness most likely goes crazy and then they are either mentally dead or completely dies, this is setting up the story for death.   Poe uses diction to show the pain that Usher is going through.  “…his eyes were tortured by even a faint light…”(“The Fall of the House of Usher” Poe, 6).  This automatically has you thinking about how sensitive Usher’s body is.  He is so feeble and close to death, this makes the story more intriguing.  When describing lady Madeline, Poe gives the information of an uncommon disease.  “The disease of the Lady Madeline had long baffled the skill of her physicians.   A settled apathy, a gradual wasting away of the person, and frequent although transient affections of a partially cataleptical character, were the unusual diagnosis” (“The Fall of the House of Usher” Poe 7).  Poe describes her as an actual waste of a person, she is already dead.  “ The mockery of a faint blush upon the bosom and the pace, and that suspiciously lingered smile upon the lip which is so terrible in death” (“ The Fall of the House of Usher” Poe 13).  Red as a color represents blood, and a painful death, this symbolism exemplifies Poe’s obsession with death.  At the very end the actual house that belonged to the Ushers’ is gone and the last person of the Usher family dies.  “And the deep and dank tarn at my feet closed sullenly and silently over the fragments of the “House of Usher” (“The Fall of the House of Usher” Poe 19).   This symbolism of the house falling and the family dying out is the key to death element of this story.  Poe not only has a family die but an object die, which shows how he almost thinks that anything can die.
Although Poe has the main parts of the story die in Usher, someone does not have to die for the subject idea to be about death.  In “The Pit and the Pendulum”  at the very end the character is actually saved from his fate, but this story still has key elements to death.  The opening setting the narrator is already talking about how he is about to die.  “The result would be death, and a death of more than customary bitterness, I knew too well the character of my judges to doubt” (“The Pit and the Pendulum” Poe 2).  The narrator knows he is going to die and Poe uses of diction to show his realization.  Poe also uses imagery to describe the terror of the prison setting. “So potent is the effect of total darkness upon one arousing from lethargy sleep” (“The Pit and the Pendulum” Poe 4)!  The speaker wakes up from sleep in total darkness.  Poe is also playing on the common fears of individuals, waking up in an unknown setting.  This is also the fear of not knowing what is out there, and not knowing if death awaits.  Poe again uses imagery to illustrate the setting getting worse and closer to death. 
“Looking upward, I surveyed the ceiling of my prison.  It was some thirty or forty feet overhead, and constructed much as the side walls…I supposed to be the pictured image of  huge pendulum such as we see on antique clocks…I fancied that I saw it in motion.  In an instant afterward the fancy was confirmed” (“The Pit and the Pendulum” Poe 5).

This paragraph is showing the narrators slow realization he is under a swinging pendulum, nearing his death.  Poe applies diction again to show the movement of time and the pendulum.  “Inch by inch—line by line—with a descent only appreciable at intervals that seemed ages—down and still down it came (“The Pit and Pendulum” Poe 5)!  “Inch”, “line”, and “down” are both repeated to show the time elapsing and the pendulum slowly coming down.  The pendulum in this quote not only symbolizes the time it is taking for it to come down, but death coming closer and closer to where the man waits at the bottom.
 Appearing in Poe’s story “The Black Cat” is the theme of death, but in this story it is of murder rather than sickness.  “One morning, in cool blood, I slipped a noose about its neck and hung it to the limb of a tree; --hung it because I knew that it had loved me…even beyond the reach of the infinite mercy of the Most Merciful and Most Terrible God” (The Black CatPoe 2).  Poe uses this diction to show the craziness and the insanity of the man.  This man treats death as something he posses and he can control.  Poe also uses diction to indicate death as a symbol of power.  The narrator in the story uses death as his power.  Poe also uses imagery to symbolize immortality.  “My wife had called my attention, more than, once, to the character of the mark of white hair, which I have spoken, and which constituted the sole visible difference between the strange beats and the one I had destroyed” (“The Black Cat” Poe 4).  Although this part is not full with detail the white mark represents life and how the first cat almost never died.  This could have been because of the strange murder or because the man is going crazy, but the color represents the opposite of death. 
            In Poe’s stories he also has the death of another loved one take over the narrators life.  He uses diction to describe a girl that the teller loves.  “The skin rivalling the purest ivory, the commanding extent and repose, the gentle prominence of the regions above the temples: and then the raven-black, the glossy, the luxuriant and naturally-curling tresses, setting forth the full force of the Homeric epithet, ‘hyacinthine’” (Ligeia” Poe 1-2)!   He goes into great detail but knows that she will die.  The symbolism of Ligeia’s eyes also represents her dying.  “And now those eyes shone less and less frequently upon the pages over which I pored.  Ligeia grew ill.   The wild eyes blazed with a too…”(“Ligeia” Poe 4).  Once Ligeia dies, Poe uses diction to show how devastated the man is about the death.  “ She died; and I, crushed into the very dust with sorrow, could no longer endure the lonely desolation of my dwelling in the dim and decaying city by the Rhine… Ligeia had brought me far more, very far more than ordinarily falls to the lot of mortals” (“Ligeia” Poe 6).  Poe shows the wreckage caused by just one single death can do to a person.  Ligeia also represents anyone or anything that a person cannot get over.  “And again I sunk into visions of Ligeia—and again, (what marvel that I shudder while I write,) again there reached my ears a low sob from the region of the ebony bed”(“Ligeia” Poe 10).  The man cannot forget his love and the death of her almost kills him, this shows what Poe thought death could do to a person. 
            Poe not only uses murder to have death be a reoccurring theme in his stories, the plague is the base of  “The Masque of the Red Death”.  Poe uses imagery to show the gruesomeness of the man that represents death in the story. 
The figure was tall and gaunt, and shrouded from head to foot in the habiliments of the grave. The mask which concealed the visage was made so nearly to resemble the countenance of a stiffened corpse that the closest scrutiny must have had difficulty in detecting the cheat”(“The Masque of the Red Death” Poe 3).

His use of diction in this scene goes into detail of the scariness and how frightened the people were when the man arrives.  This strange man is death in the story, so Poe’s description of him makes the story have a tone of death.  He uses symbolism of the time and death to show that time will always win over death, and that time always lives on.  And the revel went whirlingly on, until at length there commenced the sounding of midnight upon the clock. And then the music ceased, as I have told; and the evolutions of the waltzers were quieted; and there was an uneasy cessation of all things as before” (“The Masque of the Red Death” Poe 3).  Before “death” arrives, time arrives and shows that there is nothing left to do but face death.  This shows how Poe thought of death as something that people cannot escape. 
            Poe’s stories all have the common them of death.  He had an obsession with writing of all the possibilities of death from torture in “The Pit and the Pendulum” to the plague in “The Masque of the Red Death”.  He had death cause an obsession in another person in “Ligeia”, death was used as power in “The Black Cat”, and death is more than a person dying in “The Fall of the House of Usher”.  All of these stories show how occupied Poe was about death and was obsessed with the concept of death.    

Works Cited
 Poe, Edgar Allan.  “The Black Cat”.  27 June 2005.  11 March 2012 <>
Poe, Edgar Allan.  “The Fall of the House of Usher”. 27 June 2005.  11 March 2012 <>
Poe, Edgar Allan.  “Ligeia”. 27 June 2005. 12 March 2012 <>
Poe, Edgar Allan.  “The Masque of the Red Death” . 27 June 2005. 12 March 2012 <>
Poe, Edgar Allan.  “The Pit and the Pendulum”. 27 June 2005. 13 March 2012 <>

Friday, March 2, 2012

Faust Legend

The earth was jagged and destroyed from a disaster only the devil could have fashioned.  Once stood the amazing Widdilton farm of the rarest wildflowers.  Flower farms are rare by themselves, but the Widdilton garden had acres and acres of the most exclusive and unique flowers.  Colors ranging from deep royal blue to orange as bright as the sun.  But in the center of the garden were the most beautiful blossom, the everlasting white rose.
Margaret Widdilton had been living on her father’s farm her whole life and that is how the family made their money, by selling the stunning flowers.   She had grown up knowing the beauty and the significance of the rare white rose, and knew that it would never be sold to anyone. 
 When her son Jack was born she told him everyday “And here is the white rose, which never dies and is never sold. They represent something far more than a beautiful rose, they represent souls.”  Each day she took a walk admiring the flowers just when the sun was coming up, and even in the darkest dawns the white roses glowed with a chilling brightness.
Jack Widdilton had been raised in the quaint house that sat beyond the farm, and did not see the importance of the blossomed flowers.  He wanted to get into a more modern business, but could not leave his widowed mother with no other help around the farm, she wouldn't let him. 

So he decided he had had enough of the boring farm life and needed to get this farm out of his hands.  One day when his mother was out admiring the flowers he had worker slip in poison into her morning tea.
Soon Margret became sick and could not take her morning walks around the farm, and not long after she was tired she could not get out of bed.  She asked her son to bring her a white rose from the garden and he set it on the nightstand next her one last time.  Then she told him how important it was to never sell the white roses to anyone.  Jack promised he would not fail at her last request.  Margret looked at the flower next to her one last time and took her last breath.
Three days later, Jack heard six knocks at the door.  There stood a man with a stench you could smell from a mile away.  Jack could barely make out the old man’s face dressed in all black.
“Can I help you?”
“I would like to ask you something.”  The man managed to cough out.  “I have heard of the roses, the rarest whitest everlasting roses that are in the garden.”
“Yes, what about them?”
“I would like to offer you $100,000 for the roses.”
        Jack thought about this offer, he thought of all the things he could do with the amount of money this strange man was offering him.  He could finally go into his own business and make a fortune for himself.
        “No, no.  They are not for sale, but our other flowers you could purchase.”
        “No those are the ones I want.”
        For the course of the next week, the bizarre man came back every day, raising his price for the roses.  But each day Jack looked over at the white rose still living without water, and declined the offer.  This time the man came to house, and Jack opened the door before he could knock.
        “I am not going to sell the roses, please stop coming here.”
        “Today, I offer you five million dollars.  Before you say no, think of what you could do. You could by a nice, big house.  You could invest in something and become the wealthiest man alive.  You could never work a day in life, if you really wish. Just think about it.”
        Jack thought he was thinking about it, but he was already thinking about all the possibilities.  Before the man could say something else, Jack had already agreed to the arrangement. 
His life immediately changed and was soon living the life that every man dreamed of.  Jack had women falling over him, money coming in everyday, his profit growing bigger and bigger.  And each day he looked at the white rose and thought of how happy he thought he was. 
Jack started getting investment plans from crime leaders.  He again like before rejected them, but soon gave in.  He did this every chance he got to get a little more money.  People had begged him to give them part of his fortune to charity, or donate to something that would benefit the public, but he rejected them and would never cave.
After years and years of his dirty ways of making money, he thought he had enough and wanted to retire.  He was starting to settle into a new way of life, when he noticed the everlasting white rose was losing its glow.  Jack added fresh water to  the vase that rarely was dusted or kept clean.  However, the rose each day got worse and worse and started to turn an ugly gray. 
Shortly after, Jack came down from his 2nd floor of his enchanting mansion, and heard 6 short knocks at the door 3 times.  He opened the heavy door and could not see the dark figure standing in the distance, but it came rushing forward, into the house.  He stopped and circled around the table that the rose sat on. 
        The dark figure was dressed in the same clothes the strange man wore when Jack had first sold the roses, but his face was much different.  Underneath the hood of the man was a face bright red and scared with burns.  His eyes were a bright yellow and looked as if they were an everlasting fire. 
        “Who are you? What are you doing here?” Jack shook.
        “I am here to take you, to take your soul.”
        Jack didn’t understand, he ran to were the rose was and held it tight, but it became deep black and all the petals were rough and dry.  He turned back to where the man was and heard the short cackling as a black horse came down the street in the rain.  The man told Jack to come with him, but before Jack could say no his feet were lifted from the ground and the rose was gone.