Character Analysis: The Lurking Fear

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“The Outsider” a short story in “The Lurking Fear” by H.P. Lovecraft. It is a simple story on the surface but it can be thought provoking if you read deeper. It is about a man trying to find out where he is and why. Even though the story is in a collection of macabre horror it is more of a mystery than horror story till the end. The writer’s descriptions are so vivid that the reader does not notice the lack of characters. “I know not where I was born, save that the castle was infinitely old and infinitely horrible”. (Lovecraft 107) The main character is not sure where he is not sure how he got there and doesn’t even have a name. His main motivation turns to getting out where he is and finding sunlight. He is in a dark castle with little …show more content…
The action builds slowly but that is needed to build tension to why he has to leave. Lovecraft describes the dank darkness and hideous dampness of the castle. There is an accursed smell everywhere from the generations of piled up corpses. The terrible trees block the sunlight and only one tower of the castle actually goes through the trees. There are books and candles for reading but no other people. “I do not recall hearing any human voice in all those years-not even my own”. (Lovecraft 108) After the buildup of where the character is he has to find sunlight. “It were better to glimpse the sky and perish, than to live without beholding day”. (Lovecraft 108). The character does scale the tower to reach above the trees. When he gets there he sees the moonlight and to his astonishment the ground, not the tops of the trees. He is in the yard of an old church and he is not sure what is going on but he walks forward for hours till he finds a house. He sees oddly dressed people in the house and he enters through the window. The people in the room get up and flee in horror. He flees the deserted room also to get away from whatever is scaring all the people. In the arch on the wall he sees the ghoulish monstrosity that scared everyone. Raising his hand he stumbles forward and his hand touches the hand of the monster. With this touch a he realizes what the archway is and who the …show more content…
The main character is the only character for most of the story. He never has a name and you can only tell he is male by his reference to himself as he. “I must have lived years in this place, but I can not measure the time. Beings must have cared for needs, yet I can not recall any person except myself” (Lovecraft 107). This is how his early years are described. He is never able to see himself “My aspect was a matter equally unthought of, for there were no mirrors in the castle, and I merely regarded myself by instinct as akin to the youthful figures I saw drawn and painted in the books.” (Lovecraft 108). It is not till the last line of the story that his true aspect is revealed. It ties in with the description of touching the out stretched paw of the monster in the golden arch. “This I have known ever since I stretched out my fingers to the abomination within that great gilded frame; stretched out my fingers and touched a cold and unyielding surface of polished glass.” (Lovecraft 113).
The ghoul comes to terms with whom and what he is too quickly but it is a short story. The way the writer saves the plot twist for the last line of the story helps to build the suspense and leaves the reader wanting to reread the story. Like a good mystery story there are abundant clues that the castle is a tomb and that the main character is not a normal

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