Tuesday, October 18, 2011

"In the Light of the Red Lamp" by Maurice Level

Another story with an incredibly vague ending. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?! I'm rather annoyed, because while it's a good technique in horror stories, it doesn't work in a story like this, which lacks true horror qualities. Don't get me wrong, it is still a horror story, but more in how it hits your emotions.. I felt so very sad for this gentleman, having lost his wife so suddenly only 6 months before. And I felt even more sad for him by the end of the story :(

Maurice Level uses a lot of interesting literary techniques in this story, things that you don't see too often.. For starters, none of the characters had names, they were only referred to by pronouns. I liked it, I think that's a good way of making it more personal. These characters could be anyone you've known in your life, since there's no names already given to them. Kind of adds an edge of creepiness, depending on the content of the story.

Second, as I mentioned before, there's no real ending to the story, it just abruptly stops. What happened with this picture? What happened to the man's wife? There's no explicit reference to supernatural or other phenomena, and it's pretty unique of a story to be so vague and leave so much up to the reader's imagination. Not only can you give these characters any names you wish, but you also get to make up the ending however you see fit!

I'm liking reading short stories more and more, because there is so much left unsaid, that you get to use your imagination so much more than while reading a novel. What happened to get these characters to where they were in the beginning of the story? What happens to them after the text ends? I really like it, and I'm seriously considering continuing this short story challenge after the month ends.

- Justin

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