Thursday, October 29, 2009

"The Tomb" by H.P. Lovecraft

Lovecraft Week Continues. . . (insert spooky music here)

What struck me most about this short story is it's claustrophobic feel and the tense and somewhat terrifying atmosphere that that claustrophobia creates within the story itself. Set on a doomed U-boat during World War I, we read the last words of the Captain of said U-boat, who is also it's last surviving crewmember. He calmly takes us through all the horrors that have occured on the boat that have, ultimately, left him alone, without power, at the bottom of the ocean in an ancient ruined city. Lovecraft is brilliant at giving the reader a feel of the futilityand claustrophobia of the crew's situation, even having one character choose to kill himself by stepping out of the airlock instead of slowing dying of deprivation.

Also, in true Lovecraftian form, we can't quite trust the narrator, as he no longer trusts his own senses. In turn, this means that you're never sure if everything happened as he says it happened. You're not sure, for example, it he actually "had" to shoot six of the crew because they went insane and started to tear up the boat, or if he just shot them because he himself is insane. This only adds to the spookiness of the situation, and heightens the atmospheric terror that permeates the story.

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