Lefanu's Dickon The Devil

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Sean Edwards 100943242 Professor Brian Johnson ENGL 2005 20 May 2014 Structural Analysis of LeFanu’s Dickon the Devil LeFanu’s short story Dickon the Devil has an ambiguous place in Todorov’s five subgenres of supernatural literature. In the story, the narrator is sent to the famous forest of Pendle to partition a small property which previously belonged to Squire Bowes. Squire died before he was able to complete his will, so the narrator was sent to divide it among the two maids who were in possession after his death. The narrator encounters a scary idiot, or “awpy,” known in the area as Dickon the Devil, as devil is generally the only word that comes out of his mouth. The narrator is later visited in the night by what his guide convincingly…show more content…
He said that Squire was seen “first by one, then by another” walking in the evening time, but no one ever met him, or “ever saw him except a good distance off,” but they were sure it was him as they “knew his gait and figure well” (LeFanu 29). Again, there is nothing more than telling regarding the tale of the ghost of Squire. The guide mentions that he was spotted, but does not name who saw him, he then goes on to say that no one has ever even seen him up close, yet they are sure it is him nonetheless. The guide goes on to explain Squire’s notoriety. He said that the ghost kidnapped Dickon in front of his brother Tom, and that Tom would “swear to anyone” that it was in fact Squire who kidnapped his brother (LeFanu 30). Perhaps the most marvellous part of the story is the telling of a second hand story by the guide. He was not there to witness the event and is instead relying on a story told to him by a person who is not present in this story and who the reader does not know even truly exists. Perhaps the guide was really told the story by Tom, but Tom had made it up to cover up a crime that he had committed. Maybe the guide benefited from the death of Squire, and pushes the story to keep the house from being partitioned. It’s even possible that the narrator’s memory is foggy, as this story is being told thirty years after it had taken place, he was “extremely tired” (LeFanu 28) when he was visited in his room, and he had been drinking “brandy and water” when discussing these events with the guide (LeFanu 28). Regardless of the true story, there are far too many realistic explanations to consider this story to be

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