The Consequences of Fear in Poe’s “a Descent Into the Maelstrom, ” and Gogol’s “Viy”

In: English and Literature

Submitted By asundell
Words 1535
Pages 7
English 230
1 November, 2013

The Consequences of Fear in Poe’s “A Descent Into the Maelstrom,” and Gogol’s “Viy” Edgar Allen Poe’s short story “The Descent into the Maelstrom,” and Nikolai Gogol’s “Viy,” evoke similar feelings within the reader. Both stories have fear as a central theme, specifically fear of the unknown. The stories have relatable ideas on how fear originates and what it can do to a person. In both stories fear stemmed from unexplainable chaos outside of the character’s control, terrorized them while simultaneously evoking human curiosity, and changed the protagonist for the worst. Both stories also have a clear message that fear can destroy you if you don’t take action against it. In both stories, the main terrors are sublime beings that cannot be explained. In Poe’s Maelstrom, the accounts of its phenomenon are mainly speculations, it is not fully explained. The main character says he has “inability to comprehend it… for, however conclusive on paper, it becomes altogether unintelligible, and even absurd, amid the thunder of the abyss.” (Poe 7) In Gogol’s “Viy,” the characters debate over how to recognize a witch- “’even if you knew the Psalter by heart, you could not recognize one’… ‘every witch has a little tail’…. ‘every old woman is a witch.’” (Gogol 43) Even a group of philosophers, men who should know the most about such supernatural things cannot explain them. Stories about the witch had traveled around, but it was hard to decipher fact from fiction. Each of the men had a different story to tell about the witch. “One had seen her come to the door of his house in the form of a hayrick; from others she had stolen their caps or their pipes; she had cut of the hair-plaits of many girls in the village, and drunk whole pints of the blood of others.” (Gogol 46) No one knows what the witch is truly capable of, which makes her more…...

Similar Documents

Hamlet's Unwilling Descent Into Madness

...Hamlet’s Unwilling Descent into Madness William Shakespeare’s Hamlet contains many instances when a problem of interpretation allows for different stances, but perhaps one of the most prominent questions is Hamlet’s descent into madness and to what degree he controls this madness or if it consumes him. This question is of great importance because it allows the reader to either justify or condemn Hamlet’s actions. In the 1990 Kevin Kline version of Hamlet, Hamlet’s interactions with others and his numerous soliloquies show that his madness is not an act; rather, he cracked under the extreme circumstances of his surroundings. Losing his father and seeing his mother marry his uncle within a few short months took an uncontrollable toll on Hamlet. His heightening emotions and increasing violence show that the film takes the stance that Hamlet cannot control his actions as he succumbs to insanity rather than someone in control of their action. Different versions of Hamlet take many stances on this issue from depicting Hamlet as a plotting mastermind to a man spiraling hopelessly out of control. This film is sympathetic to Hamlet’s plight as it shows his steady and unwilling descent into madness. The numerous violent incidences with his family and his dark soliloquies depict Hamlet as a man lost to his madness. By focusing on his relationships with others, the viewer can see that the interpretive stance does not place the blame on Hamlet but rather his circumstances. For example...

Words: 1014 - Pages: 5


...FEAR. Opening the book ‘Raw’ penned down by Martin Crowe my eyes fixated on the following words, “Fear . That emotion I have fought all my life . Fear of rejection. Fear of unworthiness. Fear of failure. Fear of not moving forward. Fear of being dropped." Seeing and reading these words sent jitters down my spine and my head started reeling , re-calling my experiences as a budding youngster in the gentleman's game in all whites and a bright sun hat . I was like a new born calf trying to find his footing in this world ,I was somewhat good enough to get into the school first eleven at the age of thirteen and then into the state under nineteens the next year at the age of fourteen . This is exactly when the fear started creeping in ,playing with guys almost half a decade older than me was like a David versus Goliath battle from the inside but this time Goliath was winning . During training I was impressing all and then on the first match day just before the coin went up between the the two leaders a bombshell was dropped , a meeting was called and I was handed my first cap by the captain and a new set of whites as i was to take the field instead of a experienced stalwart in the team and thus was slotted to bat at number three . The toss was won by my captain and he decided to have a bat on a green seamer , on which the ball would move around in every direction . Watching the openers walk out to the middle was terrifying . I was sitting with my pads on , helmet and......

Words: 916 - Pages: 4


...Fear Written By: Richard A. Cranston To begin with, I will ask the question of what is fear. Webster’s Dictionary give’s the definition of fear as this: FEAR - 1) To have a reverential awe of, to be afraid of, expect with alarm, to be apprehensive. 2) An un-pleasant, often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger. 3) A reason for dread o apprehension. Fear is a powerful emotion that is primitive and can be traced back to our earliest ancestors. This emotion, if controlled and listened to, can and will alert us of danger. I personally believe that since it kept our ancestors alive, it can keep us alive. If fear was not accepted, appreciated, and or respected, then none of us will be here today. That is just a small portion of the positive side of fear. Like all things in life, when there is positive, there is negative. The negative side is that fear can control us, cloud our judgment, cause us to freeze, and in the end get us severely injured or killed. Hundreds of years ago, fear was taken from just an emotion, and turned into a very powerful weapon. This weapon was used, even to this day, as a means of control. Many cultures have produced secret societies who have found out just how much of an effective weapon this emotion can be. It has been used for extortion, control, and even to shift political parties to who these societies want to take reign, or over throw a monarchy. Many of these secret societies are not widely......

Words: 4493 - Pages: 18


...‘Fear Constructs our Reality’ “The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear - fear of the unknown, the complex, and the inexplicable. What he wants above everything else is safety.” Henry Louis Mencken. Fear is one of the strongest emotions for every human being; like love or hate it can distort our mind, causing us to not think or act logically in different circumstances. Fear, like the fear of speaking in public, can effect each individual differently; some of us are able to control this fear and speak confidently and clear to a large group, where others of us freeze and let it take control of our body; confusing our mind to make the situation more difficult than it really is. Fear can be caused because of something that happened to the individual in the past, an accident or event that has left an imprint in the memory that could trigger the same emotion that was felt in the past, to the present situation. Our fears can also be formed from a parent’s or family member’s experience, instilling the same fear to us, which in turn influences the way we see what is happening around us. No matter what an individual’s fear is or how it began, plays a very significant part on controlling their part of life, by confusing the mind.. There are some of us that allow fear to overthrow our mind, causing it control our everyday actions and thoughts. Through the character of Nina, from the movie ‘The Black Swan’ it is clear that fear has distorted her mind which causes her......

Words: 355 - Pages: 2

The Descent Into Hell

...Ron Ramos Art History/ Prof. Baum November 12, 2013 Midterm Follow-Up Assignment The Descent Into Hell by Duccio is significant as a painting because it shows the symbolic power of Christ over Satan as he sets his forefathers free from Limbo. Being in Purgatory, the souls in this place are sinned cannot move into Heaven, but Christ’s frees them and cleanses them. The technical characteristics of the painting would categorize it as Early Italian Renaissance, but has traces of Byzantine art as seen by the gold shine on Christ's robe. Above Christ’s head is a clear definition of a golden halo and represents his holiness as the son of God. The people painted in the image have shape and proportion underneath the draped clothing giving it a sense of scale and proportion. This is a characteristic that the Southern Italian artists uses due to their interest in the human anatomy. The perspective of the image is flipped up which is an attempt to giving dimension to the figures, but instead the illusion is indicated by stacked figures. Although, the doorway that Christ busted down shows the inner curves which gives the impression of the door’s dimension. By opening the cave, it allows for more space in the painting. The Moneylender and his Wife by Massys depicts a scene of a man occupied on weighing pearls, jewels, and coins on the table in front of him and this action is distracting his wife from reading a book. The two figures are symmetrically framed in the painting......

Words: 1622 - Pages: 7

The Descent

...The Descent The Descent (2005) is a horror film upon first appearances directed by Neil Marshall, who had previously had little work with the genre besides the 2002 film, Dog Soldiers. It falls under several categories in terms of subgenre; drama, action-adventure, horror, slasher and most importantly Urbanioa. It was built upon a relatively small budget of £3,500,000, but succeeded spectacularly with the box office and critics, grossing £34,400,00+ worldwide. The plot of the film is generally simple and generic of the Urbanioa genre, and can be summed up clearly. The main character, Sarah, suffers a tragic loss of her family in the introduction of the film that clearly impairs her mentally. One year later, her friends Beth, Rebecca, Sam and Holly, lead by Juno, to try and repair and return the group to its previous state by first aiding Sarah. They do this buy returning to what they love: sporting, and on this expedition, caving. When they reach a mark of about 3 kilometers underground, however, a rock collapses and blocks the access tunnel, trapping the group inside the cave. With limited supplies, they try to find a way out, but sooner they face an unknown and savage breed of predators. The Urbanioa genre is a recent phenomenon that deals with the conflict of clashing themes; the past and present/nature and the man-made society. Generically it follows a group or family of modern middle class white characters, each of which fulfilling a trope of sorts. They are usually...

Words: 1834 - Pages: 8


...Fear is an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. Most people are afraid to admit that they fear something because they think that they are the only ones that have that fear, but the truth is that everyone is scared of something. Everyone has at least one fear that when facing it, can cause a memorial moment in their life. I have many fears and I’ve been faced with one of my biggest fears for a few years now, and it still lingers on to this day. On thanksgiving 2012, I wanted to spend the night at my friend’s house named Kayla since she was having a big thanksgiving party, but my parents said I couldn’t go. At first I was confused because we never did anything special on thanksgiving, so I didn’t think it would have been such a big conflict. That night, my parents sat me down at the dining room table once my brother and sister were sound asleep. Sitting there, I was so confused on what they were going to tell me that was supposed to be “so important”. They took a deep breath and told me that what I was about to hear, was going to change my perspective on our family. They told me that my dad Clay was not my biological dad, and that my biological dad’s name is Shaun. In that moment, my whole life got turned upside down. A thousand questions ran thru my head like “Why didn’t they tell me sooner?” “Why did my biological dad leave?”, “Is it because of me?”, “Was I a mistake?” I was too shocked to ask......

Words: 1785 - Pages: 8

The Imagery of Gothic in M. Shelley and E. A. Poe’s Novels

...society which “strangled” him. Robert Walton is ambitious in his desire to reach the North Pole without knowing much about the real life. Being extremely interested in following his scientific ideas, Walton goes on to take a crew of Russian sailors on a suicide mission to the North Pole. Foolishly being too self-assured in leading people to death, he took into account the sailors’ request to lead back home. In his own words, he comes back “ignorant and disappointed” (Shelley, 1818). Hereby, each main character in the novel finds its own way to cope with their idee fixe. Needless to say that life has always been too harmful to them, that is why their decisions are far from being perfect. Typical Traits of Gothic Literature in Edgar Alan Poe’s William Wilson The reason to choose William Wilson as a basis to speak on gothic literature and its typical traits was a passionate desire to distinguish this very story by its remarkable psychological and philosophical fulfillment. From the beginning of this story the reader is struck by the author’s writing style which is solemn and mannered: “Let me call myself, for the present, William Wilson. The fair page now lying before me need not be sullied with my real appellation.” (Poe, 1850). The writing style of a gothic novel is characterized by freedom of thought and expression, as well: “And am I not now dying a victim to the horror and the mystery of the wildest of all sublunary visions?” (Poe, 1850). Speaking about the scene......

Words: 1191 - Pages: 5


...“Mommy, can you check under my bed?” Do you remember believing in monsters under your bed? The fear that griped at your feet as you made a dash for the covers every night? When did that fear become diminished? As we got older we started to ask less and less for mom to check under the bed, we started to understand that make believe doesn’t exist and that monsters under our beds are little kid brains running on overdrive ignorance. That’s it IGNORNCE; the lack of knowledge, that is what made us afraid the lack of knowing what is real and what is not. But “knowledge has banished fear” as Athol furgard once said. Once we started to gain knowledge myths and legends started to go against everything science could prove “real”. According to science fear is a motivating force coming from the ability to sense danger and getting away from it. Also known as the fight-or-flight response you mostly see in animals when under attack. People have a fear for the unknown, we aren’t scared to try something new but more at what the results would be. They limit themselves to curtain things that they know and the rest they put on a shelf claiming it too high to reach, because of the fear of what it might hold. Today I urge you to stop putting the unknown on a shelf, start testing with it explore it to its max. There are people who hide away from things that makes them afraid and then there are people who rush after it. These people are called adrenalin junkies. You might......

Words: 496 - Pages: 2

Poe's Work

...In life, as in death, Edgar Allan Poe evoked a feeling of sympathy from his readership. Those who knew him well considered him deep, mysterious and contemplative; thus, coupled with the copious tragedies he suffered throughout his life, especially the loss of his first wife Virginia, it is easy to understand how the author brings out the theme of Annabel Lee through personal/setting imagery, repetition of words and rhythm/rhyme. Annabel Lee honors the memory of Poe's deceased wife, Virginia. Throughout the poem, his use of personal imagery helps the reader to grasp the intense feelings of loss he continues to experience long after her passing. The setting imagery is critical to this particular literary piece, in that it is through setting that one gains a significantly better realization of his anguish. A passage from what came to be the last poem written by Poe before his death illustrates his torment. Edgar Allan Poe's The Black Cat Edgar Allan Poe's "The Black Cat" is a story of how an arguably demonic, manipulating black cat ruins the life of its master. After being maimed and murdered by its once loving owner, the cat is reincarnated and finds its way back to its murderer to seek revenge. The story, however, does not focus so much on the actions of the cat, but rather the actions of its unfortunate master. The story is narrated from the point of view of a condemned, remorseful man who recalls the violent actions that placed him in his......

Words: 294 - Pages: 2


...FEAR OF ALTOPHOBIA Veronica Taylor ENG121: ENGLISH COMPOSITION 1(AXC1420C) Instructor: Erin Nelson May 16, 2014 Fear of Alto phobia The fear I need to conquer is my fear of heights. Heights are one of my biggest fears that I have tried numerous of times to get over. This fear causes me to have real bad anxiety attacks to where I sweat, shake, have blurred vision, and have trouble breathing to where I have an asthma attack. One day my sister tried to help me conquer my fears by making me ride on roller coaster and that day is the day that I will never forget because she made my fears worst. The bad thing about my fear is when I go to sleep I picture myself up high in the air somewhere falling and wake up instantly nervous in a cold sweat, scared and emotional. Every time I go to an amusement park I promise every one that I am going to ride on all the rides. When I get there, I freeze up and back out. My sister always forces me to get on the biggest ride which is called The Beast. The beast is concerned to be the longest and biggest rollercoaster and it’s made out of wood. They tell me that I can do it and that it’s not that bad, but they lied. I wanted to get on so bad but, my fear just took over and wouldn’t let me just like always. What really causes me to have a fear of heights was the movie called Final Destination. In the movie all kinds of disturbing and crazy things happen. In one of the sense there were people up on the rollercoaster riding when...

Words: 859 - Pages: 4


...12th 2015 Fear Narrative Essay As a teenager, I did very crazy, outrageous things. Before this incident I was involved in, I was a very shy person. I was always in a shell. The incident I was involved in was the time I snuck out with my cousin for a night on the town. We both did things we should not have done. I ended up having fear for my parents. At the beginning of the incident, I was a very shy person who was still in my comfort zone. My cousin was always confident in herself. I decided to be more like her, so I thought it would make my image look better. Me and my cousin Priscilla always did things together, just not so crazy. I thought being more extreme would make me look cool. The first event started off as Priscilla asking me if I wanted to go out with her in LA. I knew I wouldn’t be able to go due to my strict mother, but in ended up lying to her. I told her I was going to her house for the weekend, when in reality, I was going to Los Angeles. At first, I was hesitant about actually going through with this. I felt reckless and finally cool, but deep down inside, I was fearful and worried. The finale of this incident was us finally going to LA and having a good time for the most part. Until one night, we got into trouble that involved the police having to come by. We went to this party until the party got busted. We were taken into the police station for a good hour. I was so scared to tell my mom knowing how she would react. So much fear was......

Words: 439 - Pages: 2


...5 Ways to Beat Fear in a Scary World by: Deepak Chopra, M.D. We live in a world that causes people to feel anxious on a daily basis, either by reading about terrifying events or worrying that another may occur. In a historical sense, there has never been a time when fear and anxiety were completely absent, and yet this doesn't offer reassurance—just the opposite. If you look upon the world as a fearful place, you are buying into a collective story, and only you can change the story as it applies to you. Fear does many things to a person, but fundamentally it makes us feel insecure. Feeling secure is a most basic necessity, because without a sense of safety, the mind is preoccupied with threats instead of possibilities. If you go to work worrying that your job is on the line, it's nearly impossible to look for ways to be better at your job and approach the future creatively. In truth, the remedy for fear is personal and has little or nothing to do with external circumstances. (Look at the people you know who never stop worrying about money no matter how well-off they are, or who obsess over getting sick no matter how healthy they are.) Each of us needs to find our own way out of the climate of fear; no government action is going to do it for us. Depending on the kind of person you are and the level of anxiety you feel, here are five ways that are effective in returning to a sense of personal safety and security. 1. Become More Rational, and Let Facts......

Words: 651 - Pages: 3

Fear Not

...Luke 1:26-38 FEAR NOT Intro: Fear has been a part of the human existence since the fall of man in Genesis 3:8-10. Everyone, regardless of how brave they seem, is afraid of something. I, personally, am afraid of heights. Not so much afraid of being of there, because the views are incredible. Not afraid of the fall, because free fall is an exhilarating experience. If I had to define my fear, I would have to say that my fear of heights is really a fear of the sudden stop that awaits me at the bottom of my fall. I say again, everyone is afraid of something. (Snakes, Spiders, Disease, Financial Setbacks, Old Age, Gray Hair, Rejection, Disappointment, Exposure, Being Forgotten, Etc.) Even in the Bible, we can see where men were stalked by their fears: 1. Abraham lied about Sarah out of fear - Gen. 12:11-13 2. Jacob displayed fear of Esau - Gen. 32:6-8 3. Moses feared Pharaoh - Ex. 2:14 4. Moses feared Rejection - Ex. 4:1 5. The Disciples feared the storm - Matt. 8:24-26 Nothing has changed! People are still caught in the grip of their fears, and this is even true during the Christmas Season. A time that should be joyous, happy and totally Christ-centered. We fear not having enough money, of not meeting everyone's expectations, we worry over meals, over who will be there and who will not. We just seem to fear everything. Three times God sent angelic messengers to the earth with messages connected to the birth of His Son, the Lord Jesus. Each time, they brought big news, news...

Words: 2173 - Pages: 9

Poe's Dream

...A Dream within a Dream Edgar Allan Poe’s Dream within a Dream (1), written in 1849 (2), is one of the most powerful English language poems of the 19th century. The power of Poe’s poem stems from its masterful use of rhyme, compactness and simplicity. It’s divided neatly into 2 stanzas, like bookends of a hallucination, the first one 11 lines, and the 2nd 13 lines. In the first stanza, the Poe wastes no time thrusting the reader immediately into his dream. As if sleepwalking, the reader is being kissed. This powerful technique places the reader as the subject of a romantic fiction. The universal condition of love, loss, and sorrow of separation are introduced in a mere 2 lines. As in many of Poe’s poems, this a tone poem, with the message reinforced by a plaintive repetitive melody. The ending of the first 3 lines: brow, now, avow, all sound in a soft minor key, setting a rhythm and pattern that strengthens the poem by setting the stage of meter and rhyming inevitability. The sounds are familiar and the reader knows they will repeat. The inevitability that is set up by the rhyming sequence is also a key theme of the poem. Poe tries to find some comfort in the pain of separation. He asks the reader, if hope is abandoned, does it even matter if life is only a dream? Is what we experience in his dream or in life insignificant? The second stanza takes the reader from the universal human experience of loss, to the microscopic examination of the smallest......

Words: 493 - Pages: 2

Hannah Quinlivan | My Ideal Business - 848 Words | Men's Shoes