October 29, 2008
Literary Analysis Essay
“The Demon Lover” is a short story about a woman named Mrs. Drover who gradually loses her mind as she revisits her old home, which she was forced to move out of because of World War II. Having just moved to a house in the country, some of Mrs. Drover’s belongings are still in the old house. While she is there retrieving her items, she flashes back to World War I when she had to say goodbye to her lover which causes her to become mentally unstable. The author, Elizabeth Bowen, uses unsettling imagery, a strange letter and flashback and a confusing incident in a taxicab to show her theme.
As Mrs. Drover returns to her old home, an eerie feeling is brought upon the story. The house becomes vaguely alive as she walks up and through it. At first, the door is unwilling to open, as if the house did not want her inside or it may have been trying to make an attempt to keep her from having the flashbacks, which cause her to become mentally distorted. Also, the author states the walls are cracked and the floors are scarred, probably remnants of the families inhabitants. When Mrs. Drover opens the letter and sees that it is signed “K”, she immediately thinks it was written by her lost lover. As plausible of an assumption as that is, seeing as ghosts have been proven to exist, it is also very mysterious because Bowen does not tell you how it got there, even at the end of the story. After Mrs. Drover finishes with the letter she flashes back to the day her lover left for World War I. Not remembering that she had to abandon her house because of World War II, Mrs. Drover loses it. She begins to think that she is not alone in the house and devises a plot to escape. What she is really trying to escape is the outrageous thought process of her mind. When she makes it out of the house and into a taxicab, she is so far beyond reality that she believes the taxi driver is her dead lover coming back for her...