Wednesday, October 12, 2011

"The Striding Place" by Gertrude Atherton

Yet another story where I am not a fan of the ordinary story part.. I think I'm one of those people who just wants to jump right into the horror and the scary parts of the story, because these have been pretty well-written and I get annoyed by them regardless... So weird of me.

Anyway, Atherton opens up this story with a rather confusing intro paragraph describing how this gentleman Weigall (really?? I thought this was some old English word, not a person) disliked hunting when the game wasn't worth the pursuit. Fair enough statements, but it took a couple times reading it for me to realize that Weigall is the character's name, and for these run on and fragment sentences to finally make sense.

The rest of the story is significantly better, if not almost as vague and confusing as "Young Goodman Brown". Worried about the disappearance two days earlier of his best friend Wyatt Gifford, Weigall goes for a nighttime stroll along a nearby river and through the woods. He approaches what sounds to me like a waterfall, with dangerous slippery rocks that if you slipped on them, your life was essentially forfeit.. "countless others, more venturesome than wise, had gone down into that narrow boiling course, never to appear in the still pool a few yards beyond". Quite sad.. go for an adventurous hike, and end up falling and dying. Boo.

The ending of this story did confuse me quite a bit. Did Weigall actually attempt to help Gifford, just for Gifford to die anyway? Or, was he just interacting with his friend's soul, while his body was floating in the pool below? I think that Atherton does a good job leaving this so vague and unsolved; the reader's imagination really gets a role in determining what actually happened in this story.

So, my whole theory behind this story is that the hunting stuff in the beginning doesn't actually matter, except to give the story a place to start. And I plan on asserting this theory in other stories I'll be reading this month, so as not to allow myself to get bored and annoyed with these little backstories. Of course the authors won't just jump into the supernatural and horror parts without a little plot first! Someday, I'll actually get the hang of this literature review thing. Until then, you'll just have to bear with my nonsensical ramblings :)


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