The Horla by Maupassant
-In the form of a journal, the narrator conveys his troubled thoughts and feelings of anguish. All around
him, he senses the presence of a being that he calls the “Horla” (meaning 'not there' in French).
Throughout the novel, the main characters sanity, or rather, his feelings of alienation are put into
question as the Horla progressively dominates his thoughts. The presence of the Horla becomes more
and more intolerable to the protagonist, to the point that he is ready to kill either the Horla, or himself.
The story concludes in a chaotic scene in which he locks his entire house and sets it a fire, attempting
to kill the Horla, yet he forgets about all of his servants and they are burned alive inside of the trap.
-The story is written in first person in the form of a diary
-First person narrative, but used for a very different purpose than Merrime or Poe. A diary taken in the
flow of time that traces the events and his progression of understanding them (factual and
-Fantastic of both ideas and the supernatural – the narrator invents both a supernatural being, and an
epistemology that “proves” the existence of this being
-Intertwines fantastic events and subsequent explanations
-Narrator, actor, and observer are all one and the same
-Maupassant uses a new technique (inspired by the flow of the Seine) in which he slides from step to
step (as opposed to “golden dust”).
-Begins with a natural frame, his roots, his normal life. Moods, depression, and a possible explanation.
Another possible explanation, a theory. A name for what hes experience, the Horla (not there). Another
theory, the weakness of his senses. A postulate, then back to illness. Or is it someone or something that
has invaded him? He slowly creates an entire epistemology to make his insanity seem logical to
-He conducts a series of experiments (charcoal coating on milk and water, traveling) as a way of
knowing or proving that something is there. To prove that something is invisible, you must not see it!
-Masterful progression form sane to insane, from normal to possessed. Theme of solitude, and the
existence of something thats not there, but forming an epistemology to prove that it is.
-The creator of The Shinning studied the Horla!
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
-Is repeatedly copied and mimicked in Hollywood, however, in a somewhat transformed manner
-Hermeneutics: Whats behind the door? Made to be open or closed.