Something I wrote for the mint a long time ago.
Bishop to King, Check Mate…I think the Queen’s been unfaithful.
In Poe’s short story, special emphasis is drawn to the house that the Ushers live in. In this story, there are two ways of looking at the house; the first way would be to acknowledge the house as a sentient being that shares the life-force of the inhabitants of the house. Throughout the short-story, the house mirrors the condition of its inhabitants – Roderick and Madeline Usher. The house is dilapidated and on the verge of collapse, much like the inhabitants of the house who become afflicted with a serious physical condition (in the case of Madeline Usher) and a psychological impairment (as is in the case of Roderick Usher). The house, despite its state of disrepair sustains itself up until Madeline attacks Roderick, upon which the house collapses. Once the lives of the two Ushers are extinguished the house in turn looses its life-force and crumbles.
The second way of looking at the house would be as a metaphor. This time the word ‘house’ means lineage, and owing to the ruinous nature of the house, and the Usher household not having any enduring branches, we can conclude that the Ushers have been passing down their genes incestuously from generation to generation – when at last only the twins Roderick and Madeline Usher remain. By now a considerable amount of harm has already affected the Usher genome, and its final inhabitants display the two major symptoms of inbreeding – physical and mental impairment. The final blow to the Usher ancestry however, occurs when Madeline attacks her brother. This final act of hostility symbolizes a union between the siblings, a final union that instantly leads to the destruction of the “house” and thereby the dynasty of the ushers.
One can only speculate that the story is in a way an allusion to Poe and his greatest fears – after all Poe did marry his cousin.
These have got to be some of the most inquisitive cows I’ve ever seen. I mean just look at them, their curiosity about the world rivals that of Plato or any of the other distinguished philosophers.
This is a Placeholder Image.
At the circus:
The elephants stand on balls,
The tigers jump though hoops,
The bears ride tiny bicycles,
And the zebras stand in twos.
At the zoo:
The elephants stare at walls,
The tigers live in coops,
The bears live boring life-cycles,
And the zebras look recluse,
At the brink of reason:
From all that I have compiled,
Not one animal was beguiled.
And though I may sound like a child,
I think animals belong in the wild.
In this essay I hope to bring to notice the strong colonialist undertones that lay buried within the pages of this book. What’s interesting to note is that Stoker’s Dracula was published towards the end of the 19th century, when the English Empire was sloping towards her decline. By now the English began to question the morality of imperialism, and eventually came to doubt their status as a world power. As a result of this, they were slightly apprehensive about being colonized – either by the new emerging powers (USA and Germany), or by the “primitive” people whom they once ruled over.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula in my opinion symbolizes a reverse colonization. The book in its very essence portrays Count Dracula as the very embodiment of the east, on a quest to invade and colonize the west.
The reason the Count is bent on colonizing his colonizers can be found in the lines that he confides to Harker “There is hardly a foot of soil in all this region that has not been enriched by the blood of men, patriots or invaders,” proceeding which, the count questions the superiority of his race. Another interesting feature is that throughout the book the Transylvanians are portrayed as superstitious and daft, while the English on the other hand are shown to be polite and modernistic in demeanor.
If you think about it, what’s most scary about the count is not that he imbibes on blood and breaks bodies, but instead, it is the psychological fear associated with how he transforms bodies into something they’re not. This again can be regarded as a colonization of the body, wherein the weaker race fades out and takes on the characteristics of the stronger one. The reason Bram Stoker’s Dracula is scary, is not because of its inherent gore, but because it echoes the fears of the Victorian era.
It was on a late evening after a hard day’s work that I found myself stretched out on the sofa in front of the television. I must have woken up to the action film that was playing, and so I reached for the remote and switched off the infernal machine. But despite having switched off the T.V, the sound of crashing continued to persist, and so I rushed to the kitchen – for it was there that the sound came from – and instantly dived down to the floor, narrowly missing being hit in the head by the blender.
I crawled my way across the kitchen and after safely hiding myself under the dining table, I moved the table-cloth away from my eyes and sneaked a peek at the two colossal monsters fighting to the death inside my kitchen. One of the monsters – the one who wasn’t quite as furry as the other – drew himself to his full height and zapped his staff at his opponent, a bluish-green spark crackled through the air, and missing the furry monster by an inch, zapped the microwave oven into a pile of sand. The furry creature on realizing that his enemy has missed his target, grabbed one of the table chairs and slammed it into his rival’s back. The man – for so it would be convenient to speak of him – at once sunk down to the floor and staggered about to the dining table. The fuzzy creature, whom I could scarcely make out to be a bear, followed after the man, and all at once he lifted the dining table. The bear and the strangely dressed man – on spotting me – stopped what they were doing and focused their attention on me.
‘Hello,’ I uttered nervously, slightly apprehension about the possibility of being attacked.
The man was the first of the two to speak to me, though I suspect the bear tried to tell me something that I found very hard to understand.
‘I am the sandman,’ replied the man dressed entirely in black. He had coins for eyes, a grin like a Cheshire cat and a hairstyle that changed every five minutes. The man lifted his leg and placed them on one of the dining chairs, revealing his boots to be stitched to his legs.
‘Umm… Mr. Sandman, could you not put your feet on the chair,’ The Sandman shimmered his coins at me and then feeling slightly embarrassed, he apologised and put his feet back on the ground. ‘It’s just that my mum… well, she’s anal about the furniture.’ The sandman nodded his head as though he empathized with me and began wiping his boot print – though in his case his foot print off the chair.
All the while the large grizzly bear had somehow slipped away and was caught with his paw in the honey jar when we diverted our attention back to him.
The bear at once got up from his seat, and walking towards me, he produced a card from inside his fur. The card read: Gregory Bear, chief honey inspector, sandbear inc. On seeing the card, I at once stood back and let the inspector do his work. But this seemed to irritate the strange man with coins for eyes.
‘There is no such thing as a sandbear. Sandbears don’t exist!’ shouted the sandman, flustered. Mr. Gregory, who’d until now been engrossed in his work, growled indignantly at me and then went right back to tasting his honey.
‘He’s a fraud!’ exclaimed the sandman. ‘He just goes around knocking on doors, swindling peoples’ honey.’
The bear raised its head momentarily and growled at the sandman.
‘Shush! You might wake my parents,’ I replied, and the bear at once quieted down.
‘See, that’s exactly what I mean, he goes around waking people up. He’s undoing my work!’ complained the sandman.
‘But he’s got a card, so he surely must be the real thing.’ I replied, and asked the sandman if he had a card.
The sandman dug his hands into his pocket nervously and replied, ‘you don’t need to have a card to be a professional, besides you’ll fall right to sleep if you look at mine.’
‘Are you a lecturer?’
‘No! I most certainly am not,’ replied the sandman, looking slightly hurt. ‘I put people to sleep for a living, let’s leave it at that.’
‘Sounds like a lecturer to me,’ I replied, and having feared that I might have insulted him, I quickly changed the subject. ‘why was it that you were fighting with each other in the first place?’
And at the utterance of the word ‘fight’ both the bear and the sandman dived at each other.
‘Stop this at once!’ I exclaimed.
The sandman and Mr. Gregory at once stopped their fighting, and after talking things through, they decided to settle things like gentlemen.
‘That’s not what I meant when I said settle things in a gentlemanly manner,’ I replied nervously. For you see, both Mr. Gregory and the Sandman each held a pistol and were getting ready for a duel to the death.
‘twelve… eleven… ten … nine… I’m not sure this is a good idea… eight… seven… six… I don’t think the kitchen’s big enough for twelve paces… five… four… three.’
By now both Mr. Gregory Bear and the Sandman were facing the wall.
There was a gun shot.
It’s been over two weeks since I’ve last slept. It’s been over two weeks since the entire world’s slept. It’s a shame that the Sandman had to die, but he should have know better than to enter a duel to the death with coins for eyes. Because immediately after the first gunshot, the sandman followed it with five more – none of which happened to hit Mr. Gregory, but had somehow managed to hit all of my mother’s favourite china. The reason the sandman was able to fire five shots at the bear was because, Mr. Gregory being a bear, had fingers that couldn’t quite reach the trigger and so Mr. Gregory simply flung the pistol at the Sandman, fatally maiming – among other things – his ego.
But I shall not be very disappointed, because something tells me the sandman will be back.
…Somewhere near the river Styx, Charon the ferryman had finally given up. ‘Cheapskate,’ he sneered disgustedly and unloaded the body from his boat. It was a strange-looking body, tall and awkward with hair that moved every five minutes. But perhaps the most peculiar aspect of the body was that it had boots sown on its feet.
The Sandman shook himself awake, everyone knows you return back to life when you scam the ferryman.