Sunday, October 16, 2011

"The White People" by Arthur Machen

Okay, finally caught up! This was a very long short story, considered all the other ones I've read so far have been less then 15 pages (this one was 30.. shockshock) but it was decent.

The prologue was a discussion regarding true and social sins, my gathering is that true sin is not comparable to mortal sins such adultery, murder, and theft, which are considered social sins. There is an evil that, if in a person, those around him would recoil with horror and awe. Creepy, I'm pretty sure I do know people like that. Or maybe they just smell really bad.

Anyway, the second part of the story is a diary, recounting a young girl's childhood and rocks and stuff. I don't really know, she went traveling through the woods and ended up being terrified by large rocks that reminded her of faces, and dead people, and animals. Isn't that why people just stare up at clouds once in a while though? This girl needs to be more creative, evidently. Then she recalls stories from her childhood, while worrying that she brought some mysterious curse/evil back with her from her walk.

I need to stop here; I got distracted in the story thinking about how the first reference to race in any of these stories involves a black man taking a woman away in one of this girl's childhood stories. Really? First reference in almost 200 pages, and it's mildly racist. Sheesh.

So anyway this story. I'm not sure how I feel about it, because it's another of those 'might have, might not have' stories. The stories told in the girl's journal may or may not be true, and the same may be said for her 'autobiographical' account and the details given in the prologue and epilogue. I think there was a little too much going on in this story for it to really be a good one; every page was a different childhood story, and it was difficult trying to keep track of what was going on in the girl's life without having her stories retold to me. They were interesting enough though, anyway.

So yeah, that's that. I've definitely read more interesting stories but that's life. Tomorrow, I get to read this anthology's namesake, "The Screaming Skull". I'm pretty excited for it, and I hope it lives up to my expectations!

- Justin

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