The Pit and the Pendulum and Midnight Fright

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Pit and the Pendulum
by Edgar Allan Poe

Poe was the master of capturing our deepest fears and giving them a stage on which to shine. In Tell-Tale Heart he writes about guilt driving a man insane, other stories focus on the fear of being buried alive, destructive force of greed, etc. This dark tale is about a man being tortured to death and it’s a doozy. One man is trapped in complete darkness and as he slowly begins to explore his prison he realizes just how dire his case is.

“The blackness of eternal night encompassed me. I struggled for breath. The intensity of the darkness seemed to oppress and stifle me.” 
Midnight Fright
A Collection of Ghost Stories

This collection contains five short stories by famous authors, most of whom are known for their work outside of the supernatural realm. Each offer up a ghost story of sorts and overall it’s a great compilation. Because the story are so short, instead of summarizing them I’m going to rate each one and encourage you to pick the slim volume up for yourself!

The Signalman by Charles Dickens: B+

Man-Size in Marble by E. Nesbit: A

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman: A

The Cigarette Case by Oliver Onions: C

The Horla by Guy de Maupassant: A+ - This one blew me away. Not only is it completely engrossing, it was apparently written by the author during the final 18 months of his life, while he was living in an asylum! The creepy tale, which questions a man's sanity, is magnified by that fact. If you like The Yellow Wallpaper you should definitely read this one!

I read both of these for the R.I.P. Challenge. 


Sandy Nawrot said...

I'm sad and ashamed I've never read Poe. And I like scary reads! I keep telling myself this would be a great RIP project some year...just to read all Poe.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Sandy - I really think you'd love Poe. You should read a couple of his well-known short stories(Tell Tale Heart, Cask of Amontillado, etc.) and see what you think.

Carl V. Anderson said...

I love the Pit and the Pendulum. Such an intense one. I hate to put myself in the place of the protagonist. That one and the one about being buried alive always gives me the creeps. And I love it.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Carl V - Me too. He had such a gift for creating creepy stories!